A detailed 18-month plan of action to tackle farm safety in Northern Ireland has been launched by the Farm Safety Partnership.

The Partnership was set up in May this year to address the shocking increase in the number of farmers who are dying or seriously injuring themselves as a result of work-related accidents. Since then, a number of initiatives have been launched. The Farm Safety Action Plan for Northern Ireland, which was developed by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSE NI), the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), National Farmers Union Mutual (NFUM) and the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU), sets out a clear strategy aimed at reducing injury and deaths in farming and includes details of specific goals and targets the partnership aims to achieve.

The agricultural sector suffers one of the highest workplace accident rates in the UK and Ireland. Since April 2007, more than 40 people in Northern Ireland have been killed as a direct result of agricultural activities. Many more have been seriously injured.

Launching the Action Plan, Health and Safety Minister Arlene Foster said, “Accidents resulting in serious injury or death continue to be a very real danger for farmers and agricultural workers across Northern Ireland. Too many families have had to suffer the unspeakable grief of losing a loved one as a result of a farming accident and I have seen at first hand the devastating effect it has on those who are left behind.”

She continued, “Work-related deaths on our farms are not inevitable and most could be prevented by taking simple steps to improve safety. We need to urgently make sure farmers are doing everything they can to stay safe. The actions contained in the Farm Safety Partnership plan have been agreed by all of the key stakeholders, and work is already well under way to deliver them.”

You can find out more about the Farm Safety Partnership and the Farm Safety Partnership Action Plan at: http://cedr.ec/iw