With the weather forecast improving across Northern Ireland, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is urging farmers to be cautious when catching up on farm work that has been significantly delayed with the recent rainfall.

UFU seeds and cereals chair Christopher Gill said: “Farmers and growers have been anxiously waiting for a spell of good weather to catch up on planting, get livestock out to grass and spread slurry, among other tasks.

"With time and other added pressures being heavily felt at this late stage of the year, the UFU is asking all farmers to be mindful of farm safety when trying to get back on track with the workload.

"No farm family wants to feel the heartache of losing a loved one due to a farm accident that could have been prevented.”

Slow down

“Please don’t take any risks on farm to save a few seconds, always choose to work in the safest way possible, even if this means slowing down and taking time to think about the best way to carry out the task.

"To help make the most of the dry weather and get essential jobs done, plan your day. This can make a huge difference and save time," he said.

Farm equipment

With farm equipment being involved in more than one in three farm-related deaths, as referenced by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI), Gill highlighted that these high-powered machines can also cause life-changing injuries.

“Never leave a tractor or piece of machinery running when you are not in the cab and always apply the handbrake when stopped.

"If you are travelling within the farmyard, across land or on public roads, be wary of the size of equipment and mindful of other road users. Check that all lights are working correctly and hitches are secured," he added.


Gill said that livestock also pose a major risk to a farmer’s safety.

"They are unpredictable animals with a mind of their own and it’s vital that we manage the risks as best we can, especially during calving when their temperament can change. Please ensure that handling pens are sufficient for the task and always plan an escape route."

Sometimes we get so caught up in day-to-day life, that the risk of a farm accident is far from our minds and it can be hard to grasp that it could happen to us, Gill said.

"We need to always be cautious and aware that farm accidents can happen in the blink of an eye.

"As farmers, we are our farm’s biggest asset and we have a responsibility to mind ourselves, our employees and family members.

"In this day and age, most of us have a mobile phone. When working on the farm, carry it with you at all times in case an accident should occur. It could make a huge difference.”