A number of organisations have joined the push to help improve farm safety.
Economy Minister Simon Hamilton and Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Michelle McIlveen launched the new Farm Safety Affiliate Scheme at Stormont on Tuesday.
The announcement was made as part of Farm Safety Week 2016 which is supported by the Farm Safety Foundation, Farm Safety Partnerships, the Health and Safety Executive, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and the Health and Safety Authority, Ireland.
The Campaign aims to highlight the serious dangers posed by farms and offers themed practical advice and guidance for farmers. This year Farm Safety Week urged farmers to consider “Who Would Fill Your Boots?” if something were to happen to them, or to a family member. Farm Safety Week 2016 focuses on five themes over the five days: Falls, Machinery, Livestock, Transport, Children.
The Affiliate Scheme is part of the Farm Safety Partnership’s (FSP) commitment to encourage and recognise organisations who pledge to utilise their resources and expertise to improve farm safety.
Speaking at the launch Economy Minister Simon Hamilton said: “Farming is a vital part of the Northern Ireland economy and it is crucial that we make every effort to improve the health and safety within the industry.
“Since its inception, the Farm Safety Partnership has worked tirelessly to increase awareness about farm safety and to reduce work-related fatalities and injuries on our farms. The 14 organisations recognised today are well placed within the local agricultural community to enhance the good work already undertaken and to keep farm safety to the fore.”
Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Michelle McIlveen added: “I welcome the launch of the Affiliate scheme and I commend the commitment of these organisations to work hard to improve health and safety within the agricultural sector.
“These organisations share our aims to work in partnership to improve the health and safety of the local farming community and I look forward to their efforts to help raise the profile of farm safety in Northern Ireland. I would encourage other organisations who want to demonstrate their commitment to supporting the industry to join the scheme.”
Fourteen organisations from within the commercial, educational and voluntary sectors were awarded Farm Safety Affiliate status and received their membership certificates.
They include ABP Group, AES UK & Ireland, Asda, Danske Bank, Glens of Antrim Potatoes, Girlguiding Ulster, Lakeland Dairies, Livestock & Meat Commission Northern Ireland, Northern Health and Social Care Trust Northern Ireland Safety Group, Power NI, Rural Development Council NI, Ulster Bank and the Ulster University – School of Nursing.
Commenting on the scheme, HSENI and FSP Chairman George Lucas said: “It is great to see so many reputable organisations putting their weight behind the farm safety message. The level of interest in the Affiliate scheme shows how key the issue of safety is within this industry.