Farm Safety Partnership Unveils New Media Campaign

25th March 2013

A new, thought-provoking multi-media advertising campaign designed to dramatically ramp up awareness of farm safety was unveiled today by the Farm Safety Partnership.

The Partnership comprises the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI), the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), NFU Mutual (NFUM), the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) and the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA). It is tasked with assisting Northern Ireland’s farming community to work safely and tackle the problem of work-related fatalities and injuries on farms.

In a first-of-its-kind campaign for Northern Ireland, the television, radio and press advertisements are specifically designed to help reduce the number of farm deaths and injuries affecting the sector, with a message that will resonate with thousands of farmers, their families and friends who could be at risk from the high-risk dangers which farm working involves.  

Since April 2007, 43 people in Northern Ireland have been killed as a direct result of agricultural activities. Many more have been seriously injured or made ill by work.

Launching the campaign, Health and Safety Minister, Arlene Foster, said: “These emotionally-charged advertisements, which focus on reminding farmers to ‘Stop and Think SAFE’   before starting any job on the farm, are particularly effective at bringing home the importance of farm safety in the workplace. When a farming accident happens, it affects everyone – family, friends, and, in many cases, an entire farming community which is generally close-knit by its nature. 

“Farming is an extremely tough profession and the challenges are immense. It requires huge amounts of determination, tenacity and skill. However, it can be deadly.

“I’m confident that the messages behind this targeted and influential campaign will make sure that everyone involved in farming will not only get the safety messages behind it, but will heed those messages and take direct action to avoid the devastation that accidents can leave behind.”

Michele O’Neill, Minister for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), said:

“Farming is a vital part of the economy in the north, but, unfortunately the safety record of farming is poor. Health and safety is a fundamental requirement for any business and should be regarded as an essential part of farm business management.

This new advertising campaign, aimed specifically at tackling farm safety, will signpost farmers and their families to where they can seek help and advice to reduce the risk of accidents and fatalities on farms.  The adoption of safe working practice will go a long way to preventing accidents that often have devastating consequences.”

HSENI Chairman, George Lucas, said: “This campaign focuses on reminding farmers to ‘Stop and Think SAFE’ before starting any job on the farm and complements a very intense programme of activity aimed at keeping farmers and their families’ safe. The ‘SAFE’ message addresses the four biggest causes of death and injury on our farms –Slurry, Animals, Falls from height and Equipment.

“Our research shows that while most farmers appreciate that there are many dangers involved in everything they do, too many don’t routinely assess those risks and take a few moments to think about what they are going to do and make preparations that will help to avoid injury or death.

“We consulted with farmers and their families and they have asked for hard hitting, realistic campaign to get the message home about the dangers and consequences of their actions.  This campaign will help to ensure that everyone involved is familiar with the guidance available and, most importantly of all, directly acts upon it.”

Ulster Farmers Union President, Harry Sinclair, said:  “The Farm Safety Partnership have worked hard to develop a media campaign that will get the ‘SAFE’ message across in an attempt to significantly reduce the number of work related fatalities and injuries on the farm.  Farmers often don’t take the time to think about the risks involved before carrying out work but we are hopeful this campaign will change the mind-set of many and will help drive the message home. By raising awareness through the television, radio and press advertisements we hope farmers will stop and think safe before carrying out any job on the farm and I would urge all farm family members to discuss farm safety and consider what extra steps could be taken to make sure a serious farm accident is avoided.”

For further information on farming health and safety issues in Northern Ireland please contact the HSENI helpline on 0800 0320 121 or visit