Unannounced farm inspections to take place over vehicle deaths

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Farmer on tractor

HSENI inspections will be unannounced

Unannounced workplace inspections on farms are set to take place to reduce fatal accidents.

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) will carry out the work from August.

Seventeen people lost their lives over the past 10 years due to incidents on farms involving vehicles and machinery, the organisation said.

HSENI stressed that every fatal incident on a farm in Northern Ireland was preventable.

Camilla Mackey, principal inspector for agriculture and food, said the organisation needed to keep farmers and their families safe.

Camilla Mackey from HSENI

Camilla Mackey said the inspections would keep people safe

“Workplace transport is one of the key causes of incidents in any workplace across Northern Ireland,” she said.

“We already visit farms on a daily basis – but during this period, on our visits we will be focusing on vehicle safety.

“We will arrive on people’s farms unannounced. We will not be making appointments – we don’t need to.

“We will be doing spot checks on vehicles and we will be asking about things like training and general farm inspections.”

Ms Mackey said the campaign was as much about education as enforcement.

“We do try to go down the route of advice and educating farmers about their legal responsibilities – but where we see high risk we will have to take enforcement action, and I don’t apologise for that,” she said.

She added that often older farmers or young people were are involved in vehicle incidents.

“This scheme is focused on workplace transport in three specific risk areas of safe site, safe vehicle, and safe driver,” she said.

The inspections programme will continue until March 2024.

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