Women - A Key Focus for FarmSafe Awareness

4th March 2013

Women – a key focus for the FarmSafe Awareness campaign

Ask any farmer and he will quickly tell you that the women in his life – mother, wife and sisters – are the real heart of the family farming business. They keep track of all the work that has to be done and are always there to lend a hand when that extra bit of help is required.

Given this background it will come as no surprise to learn that the recently launched FarmSafe Awarenes Campaign is specifically targeting the role of women – and all other farm family members - when it comes to communicating the all important health and safety messages that go to the core of the training initiatives now up and running, courtesy of this important campaign.

This key theme was reflected at a FarmSafe Awareness Workshop hosted by the Steele family, from Kircubbin in Co Down earlier this week. The event was attended by farm family representatives from the Ards Peninsula and other parts of Northern Ireland. The Health and Safety Instructor in attendance for the combined workshop and subsequent farm walk was Crosby Cleland from Saintfield in Co Down.

“The aim of the FarmSafe Awareness Campaign is to target all farm family members as a means of reducing the alarming accident rate on local farms,” explained Teresa Canavan, on behalf of the Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership.

“I was, therefore, delighted to join so many women from many parts of Northern Ireland taking part in this week’s FarmSafe Workshop, hosted by the Steele family.

The Farm Safety Partnership has joined forces with the Focus Farms’ Centre to make the Farm Safe Awareness Programme possible. This crucially important initiative has been designed to attract 3,000 participating farmers and family members from across Northern Ireland.

The programme will be delivered by twenty eight Focus Farmers and has been structured to allow them to host a specifically developed practical, farm safety demonstration and seminar -which will include a farm tour – designed to highlight all of the key safety issues that have a direct bearing on farm businesses here in Northern Ireland. Each event will be 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.

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.

 “The Programme has been designed to highlight the need for farmers to think SAFE at all times,” explained Crosby Cleland, during his presentation to those attending this week’s workshop.

“SAFE encapsulates the four priority risks of Slurry, Animals, Falls and Equipment. The training programme represents a key follow up to the recent launch of the Farm Safety Action Plan for Northern Ireland.

Teresa Canavan added:

“It is vitally important that at least one member of a farming family attends an upcoming visit. 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.”

The Farm Safety Partnership members include representatives from the Health and Safety Executive (an agency of the Department of Enterprise and Trade and Investment), Ulster Farmers Union, NIAPA, NFU Mutual and the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster. It was launched last autumn.

The Focus Farm Programme is part of the broader Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme and is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD).

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