As the tragedy of an eight year old boy killed in a slurry tank accident hits home for a County Antrim community, Banbridge branch of the Ulster Farmers Union has been urging local farmers to make safety a priority.
The incident is the latest in a string of fatal accidents involving slurry tanks on Northern Ireland’s farms and comes less than two years after Noel Spence died along with his two sons Graham and young Ulster Rugby star Nevin, in a similar accident on their family farm near Hillsborough.
“The farming community is very close-knit and any accident or fatality hits us hard” said UFU Banbridge Group Manager, Rodney Rankin.
“This is all the more reason for keeping farm safety at the forefront of your mind when at work.
“I would encourage anyone who wants more information about farm safety to get in touch with the UFU Banbridge office on 028 4062 5444 and we will help as best we can.”
UFU Deputy President Barclay Bell reiterated the message.
“Sadly we are reminded more often than we would like that a farm can be a dangerous work place, which is why the issue of farm safety is so important” he said.
“The UFU is heavily involved with the NI Farm Safety Partnership initiative with the aim of increasing awareness of farm safety and to reduce work related fatalities and injuries on farms.
“We are encouraging all farmers across Northern Ireland to make farm safety a priority and to ‘Stop and think S.A.F.E’ when approaching all jobs on a farm but especially when working with Slurry, Animals, where there is a possibility of Falling from a height, and Equipment.
“A great place to start is to attend a free farm safety awareness course to help get you into the farm safe mind-set.
For more information or free farm safety awareness sessions contact 0845 026 7536 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about farm safety visit www.farmsafe.hseni.gov.uk.