During this time children are also off school and spending more time on the farm. In some cases, children may be asked to help with certain jobs but regardless of age and ability, it is important to remember a farm is a dangerous workplace.
Statistics from the Health and Safety Authority show that there were 21 fatalities involving children from 2010 – 2020. 76% of fatalities were caused by a tractor or other farm vehicles. A further 9% was caused by machinery on the farm.
With such high numbers involving farm vehicles and machines, farmers, farm workers and parents/guardians need to be aware of the regulations and guidelines regarding children.
Young children should always be supervised and kept away from slurry pits, moving machines and animals.
Farmers and farm workers should always be notified if children are paying a visit to the yard.
Regulations state that children between the ages of seven and 16 can only ride on a tractor if it has a properly designed and fitted passenger seat (with seat belts) inside a safety cab or frame.
A child under seven years old should not be inside the cab of a tractor, regardless of a fitted passenger seat.
A person must be aged 14 or over to be able to drive a tractor or self-propelled vehicle in line with legal requirements. These include attending training provided by a competent provider, like FRS Training.
They must be closely supervised by an adult and only work (if they are competent) on level ground free from hazards, for example riverbanks, ponds and lakes or steep slopes, excavations, and deep ditches.
Education is key and noticing signs of danger will help in reducing farm accidents and fatalities. There are a number of resources that can help farmers, farming families and the general public learn about the dangers of a farm.
Some may be familiar with the below, however, FRS recommend refreshing your knowledge of farm safety and staying safe this summer.
The Irish Farmers Association is best known for their role in representing Irish farmers at home and in Europe. However, they are also active promoters of farm safety and best practice. Their latest campaign covers farm safety this silage season. Find out more: www.ifa.ie
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is the national body in Ireland with responsibility for occupational health and safety. With farming classified as a high-risk occupation, they have a full section on their website dedicated to Agriculture & Forestry. They also have a category for children and elderly on farms. Find out more: www.hsa.ie
AgriAware is an Irish agri-food educational body funded by the Irish farming and agri-food industry. From live events to online resources, they have helpful information specifically tailored to both primary and secondary school children. Find out more: www.agriaware.ie/
Teagasc is known for providing research, advice and education in agriculture, horticulture, food and rural development in Ireland. With lots of helpful information about farming, Teagasc also have a resource for children with printable games and fun science experiments. Find out more: www.teagasc.ie
Lastly, Agri-Kids are a great online platform that educates children, teachers, and parents on farm safety. With resources for both school and at home, there are a number of quizzes, games and an app for children to engage with. Find out more: www.agrikids.ie
FRS Training provide a fully accredited tractor driving training course which covers functions, symbols, controls, driving and health and safety. There are a number of tractor driving courses available from June 2021.
Go to www.frstraining.com to book a place online.