CAFRE Scheme to Reduce Farm Accidents

Six lives have been lost in the Northern Ireland farming community this year so far, with a further 100 accidents occurring every month on farms.

The College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise has called on farming families to think more about farm safety, particularly as wet weather, time and financial pressures could all increase the risk on farms this autumn.

CAFRE also noted that the cause of injuries and fatalities have generally remained the same over the years, and a lot of them are avoidable: “The farming community must continue to raise awareness, make improvements and adopt safer practices, and that everyone involved in the farm business should be mindful of the risks, and how to keep themselves and others safe.”

The college has launched the Farm Family Key Skills scheme, and described it as a “key element” of the province’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, addressing the need for farmers, farm family members and farm employees to take a fresh look at health and safety on the farm.

“Short workshops, which are included in the scheme, raise awareness of the need for farm families to regularly walk around their farm looking for potential risks, and making improvements, and places a greater emphasis on learning from the near misses,” said CAFRE.

“Lessons can be learnt from near misses if immediate action is taken and improvements made. The training also highlights the need to spread the message of farm safety to farm employees, visitors to the farm and more vulnerable members of the farm family such as children and older people.”

The training covers the four main dangers associated with working on a farm, which are slurry, animals, falls and equipment, and the workshop also gives an overview of the Making it Safer online risk assessment tool, which is a requirement when applying to the the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural AffairsFarm Business Improvement Scheme.

Delivered locally on farms across Northern Ireland, the workshops are free to farmers, members of the farm family, and employees, and the workshops use real life survivor stories to highlight the risks associated with farming, and each workshop is sector specific, covering pigs, poultry, horticulture and general livestock farming.

Over the next few weeks, workshops will be held in Omagh, Hilltown, Eglinton and Ballynahinch.

For more information, or to register for a workshop online, go to:, or, alternatively, contact RDC on 028 8676 6980.

If there is not a workshop in your area, you can register an interest to have one set up.