Newry & Armagh MLA backs new farm safety drive

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Sunday, January 29th, 2012
A new safety drive aimed at reducing the high number of deaths and accidents on Northern Ireland’s farms has received the backing of Newry & Armagh MLA William Irwin. The safety drive comes after a farmer or farm working was killed every month in the past year. Speaking about the issue, Mr Irwin said, “I have worked on the family farm all my life and a farm is certainly somewhere where an accident can occur very quickly. There are countless hazards on a working farm and when you have a situation where there is a lot of activity, virtually from morning to night, it is very easy to become complacent about safety. You have to be switched on all the time.” “In my time farming I have heard of many incidents and unfortunately attended many funerals of farmers and farm workers who have died as a result of an accident on the farm and I feel this latest initiative by the HSENI is coming at a very opportune time given the tragedies of the past year.” He continued, “I can recall being charged by a bull on the farm some years ago and that was an extremely frightening experience and thankfully a good friend was on hand to ward off the danger, however I was pinned to the side of the pickup before the bull backed away allowing me to escape.” “This safety drive will provide a timely and important reminder to all farmers and farm workers of the dangers of life on a farm and hopefully will help farmers address any practices or structures on the farm that could potentially cause an accident. There are dangers from methane in slurry stores to high machinery traffic at harvest time and all these things combined mean we have to think clearly on how best to protect ourselves and our workers.”
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