MLAs back call for farm safety investment scheme

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MLAs backed a call for funding for a farm safety investment scheme to help protect people working in agriculture, on 30 September 2013.

Thomas Buchanan proposed the DUP motion.

He said that fatalities on farms now accounted for almost 60% of workplace deaths, and that 11 out of the 19 deaths in 2013 were in the agriculture industry.

Mr Buchanan said it was a matter of changing the mindset of farmers and the startling fact was that "a farming family is left bereaved every month".

He said the four main dangers were from slurry, animals, falls and machinery.

"A playful bull can kill just as easily as an angry one," Mr Buchanan said.

He said the fact was that "a farming family is left bereaved every month".

Sinn Fein's Ian Milne backed the motion, saying that as a member for a rural constituency he "(knew) personally many who have been injured as a result".

Joe Byrne of the SDLP also supported the motion. He said that with a tractor costing between £40,000 and £60,000 then surely it would make sense to include a handling course as part of the cost.

Ulster Unionist Sandra Overend said it was startling that, in the 21st century, agriculture had become the single most dangerous occupation in the country.

Kieran McCarthy expressed his support for the motion on behalf of the Alliance Party, as did John McCallister for NI21.

The agriculture minister said she absolutely supported the concerns expressed by members.

Michelle O'Neill said there was a culture of risk-taking in farms and "we have a lot of work to do around that".

She outlined plans for a programme of Farmsafe awareness training sessions, and said that so far 1,000 farm family members had signed up.

The motion was carried on an oral vote.

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