As we reflect on 10 years of Farm Safety Week, we can all acknowledge that we have had 10 years of shocking headlines, 10 years of life-changing and life-ending injuries and 10 years of heartbreak for farming families across the UK and Ireland, but there is another side to it…
Behind the scenes, there is an army of inspirational people working tirelessly to make a change in the industry so, today let’s acknowledge 10 of them and explain why we feel that the farming industry is a safer place with them in it.
As Tess and Claudia would say in the Strictly Results Show… in no particular order… our 10 Farm Safety Heroes are:
By his own admission, Alan is not very good at being retired.
After a career spanning over half a century in the agricultural industry and local authorities, including HSE as Principal Inspector, Alan has campaigned for farm safety for longer than FSW has been in existence. A past Chair of the Institution of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH) Rural Industries Group and Board member of the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) England, Alan still offers H&S consultancy, advice and training for local authorities (via APSE), farming and other land-based businesses and organisations. Below the radar and an engaging and enthusiastic voice for change, Alan is a real hero in our eyes!
Young farmer Beca had a serious accident on a quad bike in March 2018 in which she sustained a fractured skull, neck injuries and major bruising. She wasn’t wearing a safety helmet – something she regrets every single day. Although she made an amazing recovery and returned to farming after what she describes as nine long months of rest, physio and rehabilitation, she says life may never be quite the same.
Her medical team are still unsure whether she will ever regain her senses of taste and smell and ability to sleep through the night. She works to support the Wales Farm Safety Partnership and is on a mission to raise the profile of farm safety and promote safe working practices, especially when it comes to driving farm vehicles.
Linlithgow farmer and NFU Scotland’s Transport Advisor, Jamie Smart is someone who has been campaigning for many years to improve the poor safety record of Scottish farms and crofts. He believes that, while smartphones and smart TVs have been around for a while, the time has now arrived for smart farmers as safe farmers are smart farmers!
Jamie has been pushing farmers to improve the safety (and legality) of their agricultural machines for over 15 years. With his guidance over the past decade, NFU Scotland has run agricultural vehicle roadshows led by Jamie in conjunction with DVSA and Police Scotland, promoting the rules around using these vehicles on public roads. Jamie has been aiming to get farmers, and their staff, to recognise the role they must play in road safety and to think of the dangers involved.
Malcolm has recently retired from his role as Principal Inspector Health & Safety Executive Northern Ireland where he led the farm safety team. Malcolm, his colleague Bryan Monson and the HSENI team were pivotal in setting up and running the Northern Ireland Farm Safety Partnership in 2012, the same year Farm Safety Week was born. Malcolm also joined Stephanie, NFU Mutual’s Martin Malone and ex-UFU President Barclay Bell on the judging panel for the inaugural NFU Mutual Tidy Farmyards competition in 2018.
Well-respected and well-liked in the NI farming community, Malcolm has supported Farm Safety Week since Day One and has been a strong voice for encouraging safer behaviours in the industry.
In October 2009, County Galway farmer Peter Gohery had a life-changing workplace incident that resulted in the loss of his leg, severe damage to the other and numerous other injuries.
His road to recovery inspired him to devote his future career to farm safety and advising workers in high-risk environments on the dangers and realities of the lack of health and safety in the workplace.
Over a decade later, he still delivers safety talks around Ireland, sharing his story and looking at ways of making life safer around the farm.
Jim Chapman MBE
What can we say about Jim Chapman?
We admire Jim so much and have been so grateful for the support he has given the Foundation since the very beginning that we asked him to join our board of trustees in 2018.
Jim lost his arm in a farm incident when he was 23 and has used his own personal story to inspire thousands of people living and working in farming to put their safety first and speak up when they feel a job is unsafe.
Farm safety trainer, consultant and mentor, Abbeycwmhir farmer Brian has devoted most of his professional life to driving safer behaviours on our farms and has provided farm safety training to thousands of farmers throughout the UK. He has been long known as a thought leader in the industry and held the role of chair of the Wales Farm Safety Partnership. Brian is also an approved Farming Connect farm safety mentor, undertaking one-to-one visits and providing confidential guidance on making Welsh farms safer places to work. In 2021 he was rightly awarded the Lantra Wales Lifetime Achievement Award.
We heard from her yesterday but we think farmer’s wife Alma who founded educational platform AgriKids in 2014, in the midst of Ireland’s worst year on record for farm safety is a worthy contender for this list.
Alma has brought a new approach to farm safety awareness and the resources she has created have been kick starting farm safety discussions in the home, classroom and community. She believes that, by doing so, we can create a safer future on our farms… for everyone. Read more HERE
Co Londonderry livestock farmer, Harry has been active in Young Farmers for many years with YFCU. He became involved in the Ulster Farmers Union, where he was chairman of both the livestock and hill farming committees. Harry held the role of President of UFU from 2012 – 2014 and during this time, farm safety became one of his key priorities. In fact, Harry was another of the key people in the establishment of the pioneering Northern Ireland Farm Safety Partnership of which he is the current chairman.
He is also a board member of the Livestock and Meat Commission and sits on the Audit and Risk committee of both the HSENI and LMC
Lynda & Andy Eadon
Lynda and Andy are sheep farmers in Warwickshire.
We could tell you how incredibly inspiring we think they are, given their circumstances, or we could just ask you to watch this video…