THE Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has this week issued an appeal to all primary schools to help prevent children from being seriously injured or dying in a farm accident this summer.
The Authority has written to all primary school principals asking them to make the last message they give to children before the summer break a farm safety message. Farm accidents have claimed the lives of 23 children in the last decade and farms remain the only workplace where children still continue to die.
Recent weeks have seen the death toll rise again in what is always a horrific tragedy for families and heart-breaking for their communities. Summer holidays are a high-risk time for children who are off school and spend a lot of time on their family farm or visiting friends’ and relatives’ farms.
Chief executive of the Health and Safety Authority, Martin O’Halloran, said: ‘We are calling on schools to join us in a national effort, to prevent children from being seriously injured or dying in a farm accident this summer. I am asking every teacher to spend 30 minutes communicating key farm safety messages to children. Summer is a very busy time for farmers when much work needs to be done. Farmers need to be prepared for the presence of children during the holidays.’
The top risks to children on farms in the summer period are: tractors, machinery and other farm vehicles; travelling on farm vehicles; playing where there is work activity on the farm; unsupervised access to farm animals; playing near slurry pits or being around slurry agitation activity.
The HSA letter to schools includes a link to slides with key farm safety messages for children on the HSA website. The ‘Farm Safety presentation’ can be found under Teacher Support and Resources section of the HSA website at www.hsa.ie/education.
The slides contain links to further HSA farm safety resources on the website, which include a series of short farm safety videos involving children on their own farms and the ‘Keep Safe on the Farm (40-minute on-line course suitable for the whiteboard) at the HSA’s e-learning portal: http://hsalearning.ie under the Primary Schools tab.