This week has been marked by the launch of the 2024 ‘Child farm Safety Calendar’. It is themed ‘Avoid harm on the farm’.

This is one of the many projects coordinated by Northern Ireland’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

But what makes this initiative so authentic is the fact that children’s own work is used to illustrate each of the 12 months featured within the calendar.

All the drawings and illustrations are sourced courtesy of a competition that is launched in the run-up to the summer holidays.

The messages associated with this truly wonderful initiative resonate in and around every rural part of the UK and Ireland.

What’s more, it impacts school children, their parents and the general public in equal measure.

Child farm safety

With Christmas just a few weeks away, we are coming up to a time of year when the issue farm safety comes into even sharper focus.

The festive period is always a busy time on farms. For one thing, there tends to be more people around the place with many older family members off work and the children not at school.

But with more people on the scene and everyone wanting to help out, the risk of a serious accident taking place becomes all the greater.

Preventing accidents form taking place requires those involved in any farm-related activity taking that little bit of extra time to work through all the permutations with regard to what could and what could not happen.

No job is that urgent that an extra minute or two of preparation would not help the project to be completed more efficiently and safely, from everyone’s point of view.

All the regulations in the world will not improve farm safety levels on our farms.

Obviously, farmers found to be breaching any health and safety regulations must be dealt with vigorously by all the relevant adjudicating bodies.

What’s really required, though, is a concerted effort on the part of those involved within the farming industry to put their safety and the safety of others first at all times.

Children are particularly vulnerable, when it comes to farm accidents. They tend to get into places where they shouldn’t be, simply because they are young and full of life.

So, it’s up to parents to make sure that the next generation of farmers are taught from the get-go that farms are inherently dangerous places and that nothing can be taken for granted – ever.