Today we are passing the baton to the Farm Safety Partnerships.
Each partner country has a farm safety partnership made up of organisations representing a broad spectrum of agricultural interests. Throughout the day, we will be asking the Chair of the Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England and Republic of Ireland FSP for their views on what needs to be done in the industry and what they are actively doing in their country to drive it.
First up, Northern Ireland Farm Safety Partnership Chair Bryan Monson outlines his thoughts on moving awareness to action…
“I was in a rush this morning, my daughter was late for school, I had too many things to do at work and not enough time to do them properly, I was expected at a meeting at 9am and it was pouring with rain, and yet when I got into the car I put my seatbelt on without thinking about it.
We have come a long way over the past seven year with our focus on ‘SAFE’ (Slurry, Animals Falls & Equipment) and awareness of the risks and simple steps to work safely has never been higher. Through TV, Radio, press, events, training courses and word of mouth most people working on farms know the Stop and Think message however people continue to be killed and seriously injured.
Some people choose to ignore the messages and take a chance, but for the majority that’s not the case.
We are all aware of the risks of farming, the influence of the weather, distractions, lack of time, pressures of the job and it is all too easy to let things slip. We don’t always automatically Stop and Think Safe.
This year the FSP(NI) is working hard to make thinking about doing jobs safely – no matter how big or small – as natural as putting on your seatbelt.
Until it becomes a habit, we know that people will need to be reminded so we continue to raise awareness through the TV, press and social media. Along with our FSP Affiliates we are continuing to get the message out through events, publications and one-to-one interactions.
We also know that pressure and stress can also reduce our ability to work safely and therefore we have worked with Rural Support in Northern Ireland to develop a resource for farmers specifically focusing on coping with the pressures of farming.
Between now and April we will be coming to the end of our third Action Plan and starting to think about what we will do next. I don’t think the core work will change greatly. We will continue to promote safe working, look for simple and practical solutions to make farming safer and engage with children and young people to instil a positive attitude to working safely. We do however need to work in partnership with others to ensure not only the safety of people living and working on farms, but also their physical and mental health.
I have always been moved by the testimonies of people who have been injured or lost loved ones as a result of on-farm incidents. Often as they describe the effect the incident has had on their, and their loved ones lives, they mention the ‘if only’. If only I had …… it might never have happened.
I remember a very similar comment made by a mother about her son, who was killed in a car accident before people started wearing seatbelts- “if only he had worn his seatbelt, he might have been here now…”
Take a moment to Stop and Think, and make it as natural as putting on your seat belt.
For more information about the Northern Ireland Farm Safety Partnership visit www.hseni.gov.uk/articles/farm-safety-partnership