Child Safety on a Working Farm
Farms are not a normal play environment, they are in the middle of busy workplace surrounded by chemicals, heavy machinery, large vehicles and animals.
While working farms aimed at children are great fun and a really useful source of education, extra care has to be taken, to ensure their safety. The facts are unfortunately stark: in the last ten years, over 400 children have suffered serious injuries on farms; and 45 children and young people have been killed. It’s therefore vital to take measures that help ensure the safety of children on a farm.
Let's take a look individual aspects of a working farm where we CAN help protect our kids while they're having fun.
AnimalsProbably the favourite element of a visit to any working farm for children (and adults if we're honest). Farm animals can harbour harmful diseases which can cause serious illness. Children must therefore practice basic hygiene all the time while on a farm. The most obvious precaution is to wash hands after touching farm animals. Most working farms will provide hand washing facilities where contact with animals can take place.
An adult must ALWAYS be present
If children have contact with animals, an adult must also be on hand. Most farm animals are not aggressive. But they may accidentally knock down and trample children. Where there are animals on a farm, there are likely to be sheep dips and slurry pits. A farmer and any employees must ensure these have covers when not in use.
Farm MachineryThere are laws governing the age at which children and young people can use machinery and farm vehicles.
Children 13 years old or over can only ride on a tractor as a passenger if there is a passenger seat and seat belt.
Young people aged 16 years and over can use an ATV. Even then, they must receive training. And they must wear helmets.
- Don’t leave keys in machinery
- Keep keys in a childproof place
- Keep cab doors locked
- Keep implements on the ground and not suspended in the air
- Ensure there are guards over any dangerous parts of machinery
- Forbid children to play on or close to machinery
- Ensure there are no blind spots for machinery drivers
Farm Buildings and YardsAnyone working on a farm or visiting must be aware that children may be in the vicinity. Farmers should erect warning signs around farm buildings as necessary. Yards must always be tidy. It’s unwise, for instance to leave tall stacks of feed or fertiliser bags for long where children may climb on them.
Place plenty of warning signs around farm buildings
- Lay down health and safety rules for children and young people who live on a farm
- Keep all guns and ammunition in a padlocked gun cabinet
- Label Chemicals and lock them in a storage area
- At all times, know where you expect children or young people to be on the farm