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HSENI wants farmers to put themselves first

22 July 2019

THE HEALTH and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is supporting this year’s Farm Safety Week 15-19, July organised by leading farming charity Farm Safety Foundation.

The Foundation is encouraging the farming community to stop and think about how they are looking after their physical and mental wellbeing. Agriculture continues to have the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK.

Add to this the issue of rural isolation and the unique stressors facing the industry and this can lead to mental ill health and depression in those living and working in the farming community. Thankfully farmers’ physical and mental wellbeing has been receiving increased attention in recent years thanks to Farm Safety Week, Mind Your Head, Are Ewe Okay and Fit2Farm campaigns but so much more can, and must be done.

Throughout Farm Safety Week, the Farm Safety Foundation, supported by the Farm Safety Partnerships, the Health & Safety Executive, Health & Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and the Health & Safety Authority, Ireland, will demonstrate how safety innovations and improved inspection and maintenance can build business resilience, highlighting organisations helping build personal resilience and introduce some incredible farmers that have been influenced by circumstances, stories or personal experiences to make a real change.

Principal inspector at HSENI Malcolm Downey said, “We are backing Farm Safety Week as, while it is important to raise awareness of the issue in the industry, what we really need now is action! UK farmers are renowned for the attention they give to their livestock, crops and machinery, but what we need to remind them is that looking after their own physical and mental wellbeing should always be the priority.”  

Stephanie Berkley from the Farm Safety Foundation said, “The Farm Safety Foundation is a small charity with BIG ambitions. Over the past six years, we have developed Farm Safety Week into something recognised by 68% of farmers in the UK but awareness is one thing –the time has come for action!  

“As a Foundation, we will continue to train the next generation. We will continue to conduct research into farm safety behaviours and attitudes and we will continue to create powerful and emotive campaigns and offer advice and guidance but the rest is in your hands... It’s your health, your safety, your choice!” 

For more information on ‘Farm Safety Week’ visit www.yellowwellies.org or follow @yellowwelliesUK on Twitter/Facebook.