NI farm action plan aims for 20% cut in fatalities
Its aims include reducing the fatal accident rate by 20%, communicating the avoidability of accidents and business benefits of safer farms and organising farm safety talks, events and competitions for children aged between 6 and 12.
The new programme builds on the first and second FSP action plans, launched in 2012 and 2014. The FSP says that the past three years more than 3,000 people have completed a farm safety awareness training course and 24,000 school children have attended safety presentations.
There are approximately 47,700 people working on 24,500 farms in Northern Ireland. A 2015 survey of 4,000 farmers suggests there are up to 100 incidents each month on farms which require medical intervention, many needing hospital treatment.
An analysis of incidents since April 2014 shows farm equipment (32%), falls from height (30%), animals (22%) and slurry (16%) are the main causes of fatalities on farms.
FSP members include the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland, the Ulster Farmers' Union and the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association. The plan commits the partners to developing online training modules on safety and health hazards, to publishing and distributing 10,000 safety leaflets and to sponsoring postgraduate research into safe behaviour on farms.
FSP chair Keith Morrison said: "Farming and food production play a crucial role in the life and economy of Northern Ireland [but] unfortunately we have also seen farming in the headlines for the wrong reasons. All too often accidents happen on our farms which are preventable, so we want to continue to raise awareness for everyone working on, or visiting, a farm."