Two school students from Carrick-on-Shannon Community School in Co Leitrim have been taking proactive steps to promote farm safety in their local farming community.
Jane Carty from Boyle, Co Roscommon, and Grace McKeon from Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim, are 5th year students who have been selected as finalists in the Certified Irish Angus Schools Competition.
Alongside rearing five Angus calves, they are aiming to raise awareness around farm safety.
“We both come from farming backgrounds and we decided to choose farm health and safety as our theme because in recent years the number of farming accidents has been unacceptably high,” the girls told the Irish Farmers Journal.
“We want to raise awareness around farm health and safety and by educating both the young and the old, these numbers could be reduced.”
Jane and Grace have taken a two-pronged approach to promoting farm safety.
The first is producing an information sheet with local emergency contact numbers that farmers can place in their yards.
There is also space for two local farmers’ phone numbers.
“Quite often in a farm emergency, a local farmer may be required to assist with a machine and those attending the accident scene may not have access to their numbers.
"We feel this sheet should be displayed on every farm in case of an emergency, in a place where it is clearly visible,” they said.
Farm safety map
The second part of their project involved a visit to their local primary school to give presentations on farm safety.
The pair have also produced a farm safety map template to be completed by children and their parents.
It involves drawing a map of the farm and using a traffic light system to identify hazards on the farm.
“As well as educating the kids on farm safety, we believe that familiarity can result in complacency and farmers become less aware of dangers.
"Hopefully, this activity reminds them of safety issues and possibly areas that need attention.”
Wintertime is a busy, and potentially dangerous, period in farmyards.
With schools remaining closed, Jane and Grace believe it is important all family members are reminded of the potential dangers.
The children showed great interest in the presentations and were given a map to be completed at home.
All the children then presented their completed maps to be in with a chance of winning a prize.
“We were delighted to see this, as the conversation between the child and the adult had happened, which we feel is the most important thing, because it is often forgotten,” the girls said.
Jane and Grace said they hoped that by publicising their project, the ideas will be used by many farming households locally and nationally.
“We want to see a decrease in farm accidents in the coming years,” they said.