Speaking at the National Farm Safety Conference in Cork today (Thurs), IFA Farm Family Vice-Chair Maura Canning said education and awareness among primary school children was an important part of the overall campaign to improve farm safety.
Maura Canning said, “The summer holidays begin next week and many children will be looking forward to spending more time on the farm. Farm families will also be hosting guests, some of whom may not have the same level of awareness of the dangers that exist around farmyards.”
She encouraged parents to go through safety measures with their children again, and remind them what they should do to reduce the risks associated with machinery and livestock. She said, “It is also timely, at the beginning of the summer holidays, to have children take on the responsibility of alerting their cousins who are staying on the farm of the dangers.”
Maura Canning said, “As an employer, a mother, a sister, a wife or a daughter – farmwomen know how important it is to constantly remind everyone on the farm to stay safe. Women are more cautious than men and they need to insist on the importance of being vigilant and not taking shortcuts. The broken nature of the weather in recent weeks means intensive work such as silage harvesting has yet to be done. This should not mean any relaxation of farm safety measures.”
Members of the IFA Farm Family Committee undertook training recently on how to present and engage primary school children on the dangers on the farm. The training was tailored specially for a younger audience, to increase the effectiveness of the message. Among the initiatives were:
ü Using ‘spot the dangers’ on posters;
ü Reminders that the farm is a workplace as well as a home. It is not a playground;
ü Telling them stories of tragedies on farms;
ü Encouraging children to take responsibility for health and safety around the farm. There is nothing a child likes more than pointing out something an adult has done wrong!
The Farm Family & Social Affairs Committee and Agri Aware will be volunteering during week-ends in July to promote farm safety at the Family Farm in Dublin Zoo.
Niall Madigan (01) 450 1931/ 086 822 8635
Morag Devins (01) 426 0344/ 086 263 9940