It is easy to think that accidents to children on farms don’t happen. The truth is sadly different and this summer saw two children die in farm work related accidents
A 10 year old boy died following a farm work related accident with farm machinery in Northern Ireland, and in West Yorkshire an 11 year old boy died in a farm work related tractor accident.
Some people have reacted by asking what were children of this age doing in such dangerous situations in the first place,. But the fact is that children can be on farms for many reasons. Children can be visiting farming relatives, be on a school trip, visit a petting farm or a farm maze, be on holiday on a farm or even be helping family or friends out in busy times such as harvest.
All these are fine activities and few people would think they are anything other than thoroughly good for children, being both healthy and educational. Yet farms are often dangerous places and it can be all too easy to overlook this.
It is easy to forget that children need a different level of care and supervision to adults and what seems to an adult a safe and manageable environment can be very different for a child. It is also easy to think of farms, especially when you work on them, as in some way distinct from the wider world and a place where you run to your own rhythms and practices. This is very much not the case and extra vigilance must be maintained to avoid such mistakes.
The health and Safety Executive recently published revised guidelines about keeping children safe on farms and you can read my summary of the document and download it here.