FBD Risk Manager
Take farm safety action now to prevent an unthinkable accident.
Take farm safety action now to prevent an unthinkable accident. Tragically over the last 10 years, 21 children have been killed in farming accidents; this represents 10 per cent of all fatalities on Irish farms. The grief and trauma caused by a child fatality is immeasurable. My deepest sympathy goes to anyone who has had to live through such a life-changing event. I’d encourage anyone who’s been affected by a serious or fatal accident to reach out to Embrace FARM for support.
Accidents involving tractors, quads or other farm vehicles resulted in 76 per cent of all child fatalities. Other causes of child fatalities on Irish farms include falls from heights, heavy loads falling on children and electrocution. It is imperative that children are kept away from working vehicles and are adequately supervised when they are on the farm. It’s important that we teach children how to farm safely. Now is the time to stop dangerous working habits which may have been passed down for generations. During school holidays it is especially important that the farm family members focus on five key child safety guidelines; highlighted below.
Provide a Safe Play Area
A farm is a great place to grow up. There are lots of ways children can get involved, but it is not a playground. There are many hazards on the farm and children are particularly vulnerable to risks due to their inquisitive nature, poor perception of risk and lack of farm safety knowledge. A safe and supervised play area away from the hazards of a working farm should be provided for children.
It is important that children are only allowed on the farm when they are supervised by an adult. These occasions should be taken as an opportunity to teach children about the risks and how to stay safe on the farm. With child safety in mind, Agri Aware – supported by FBD, IFA and ESB Networks – produced a short farm safety film called ‘Once upon a Farm’ aimed directly at primary level students. We would encourage all persons to view the video by scanning the QR code below
Over three-quarters of child fatal accidents on farms involve vehicles It is imperative that children are kept clear of moving vehicles. The tractor is not a babysitting aid and must not be used as one. The Code of Practice on Preventing Accidents to Children and Young Persons in Agriculture says that a child must be at least seven years of age before they are allowed to sit in a tractor and, only then, provided there is a properly designed and fitted passenger seat, with a seat belt, inside a safety cab or frame. Children under the age of 14 must not be allowed to drive tractors or self-propelled machines. Children over the age of 14 must only be allowed to operate tractors after having received training. Young person’s must be at least 16 and hold an appropriate driver’s licence before they can drive in a public place.
A quad bike is a not toy. If it is operated unsafely, it can quickly create significant risk of death or injury to the operator. The most important safety issues with quads are training, experience, wearing personal protective equipment, maintenance and knowledge of the terrain. The minimum age for farm type working quad bikes is at least 16 years of age. This is usually clearly stated on the quad.
Dangerous Activities / Areas
Children are naturally inquisitive and will often get into seemingly inaccessible places. Make sure that children are kept away from dangerous areas such machine operating areas, slurry pits/ slurry storage areas, stacks of bales, chemical stores, sheep dipping tanks and grain silos. The most effective way to do this is to provide adequate supervision and childproof fencing around these areas.
Children should not be allowed to come into close contact with dangerous animals such as bulls, stallions, rams and female livestock with newborn young. Don’t leave the safety of children to chance; prevent the unthinkable by making child safety a priority on your farm.
Data Source: Health and Safety Authority Fatalities in Agriculture Data 2013-2022