Farmers implored to actively participate in FarmSafe campaign

10th May 2013

The absolute necessity for farmers to put their own health and safety first at all times has, yet again, been highlighted in the wake of the most recent tragedy to befall a farming family in Northern Ireland. Following the tragic death of a Co Derry farmer last weekend Eamonn Matthews , the man heading up the recently launched FarmSafe Awareness campaign, has told Farming Life that practical support is now available, providing farmers and their families with the detailed advice they need to make their farms safer places on which to work.

“Specifically, the Farm Safety Partnership has joined forces with the Focus Farms’ Centre to make the FarmSafe Awareness Programme possible. This crucially important initiative has been designed to attract 3,000 participating farmers and family members from across Northern Ireland before then end of 2013,” he added.  “And to date 530 people from across Northern Ireland have availed of this opportunity.”  “But, obviously, we want to significantly increase this figure over the coming weeks and months.”

The FarmSafe Awareness Programme is being delivered by thirty eight Focus Farmers in conjunction with LANTRA accredited Health and Safety Instructors. It has been structured to allow each host farmer and accompanying instructor coordinate a specifically developed practical, farm safety demonstration and seminar.

Eamonn Matthews again:  “The events have been designed to highlight all of the key safety issues that have a direct bearing on farm businesses here in Northern Ireland.  They are very practical in nature and will serve to primarily encourage farmers to ‘think’ and ‘act’ safe as they go about their day-to-day activities.

“We are also using venues such as Orange Halls, GAA Clubs and Community to facilitate the needs of those attending the seminars. Timing is also totally flexible. Both daytime and evening schedules will be included, again to meet the requirements of every farming family in Northern Ireland  

All of the Focus Farm hosts adhere to the highest health and safety standards within their own businesses and have been specifically trained to answer any related issues that arise during the visits.

Eamonn Matthews concluded: “It is vitally important that at least one member of a farming family attends an upcoming seminar. They have been designed to graphically highlight the consequences of a serious on-farm accident, both in terms of the problems caused for the business and the ensuing family trauma.  “But more than that, they will serve to encourage farmers to take that extra 30 seconds to work through the safety implications associated with every farming-related activity.”

 For information enquiries o the FarmSafe Awareness campaign, please contact the Focus Farm Centre at 0845 026 7536, or through the website at