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After another death, calls for farm safety to be taught to primary school kids

More people have died on Irish farms this year than over the entire of 2013.

Image: Farmer on tractor via Shutterstock

THE DEPARTMENT OF Education is being called upon to bring in a health and safety module for primary school kids — with a particular emphasis on farm safety for children in rural areas.

It follows a spate of deaths on Irish farms this year.

In the latest such incident, a man sustained a serious head injury while fitting a tyre to a lorry at a farm in Co Clare on Wednesday. He later died from his injuries in hospital.

It brings to 20 the total number of lives lost so far this year — more than over the entire year in 2013. That total includes three children.

“There is room in subjects like Social, Personal and Health Education to include a module on health and safety, and in rural areas, this could be focused on farm safety,” President of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association, Patrick Kent, said.

“Even in urban areas, there are children who go out to visit friends or relations on farms.

Children, along with older farmers, are most at risk when it comes to farm accidents, and the younger they become aware of these issues, the better.

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The Health and Safety Authority hosted a conference on farm safety in Kilkenny yesterday — and has issued updated ‘harvest time’ advice for farmers on its website, including a code of practice to relating to children in agriculture.

Speaking ahead of the conference, IFA President Eddie Downey also called for farmers to refocus on safety.

“This requires a change in mindset, but safety needs to be a top priority on every farm and for every farm family,” Downey said.

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Daragh Brophy

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