Farm safety tips



Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in Ireland. It is also the

only high-risk industry that must deal with the presence of children. Farms

are a high risk environment for childen and young persons.

This guidance applies to children and young persons whether they are

employed in agriculture or just helping their parents, neighbours or friends on the farm, or those, who are just visiting farms.




Assess the Hazards

Identify systematically all hazardous areas, operations and activities,

particularly vehicles, machinery, animals and slurry pits. Consider the

circumstances in which children might have access to land or premises.


Keep Children Out of Work Areas

Identify areas from which children should be excluded. Make suitable

arrangements to ensure they cannot enter. Consider displaying warning

signs or pictures for children. Where the farm is also a home, play areas

should be established well away from the work area.


Make Areas Accessible to Children Safe

If children have access to the workplace, can it be made safer? Is the

workplace free from hazards? Can vehicle movement be reduced? Are

dangerous machines properly guarded? Are pits properly fenced? Are

harmful chemicals and veterinary medicines locked away?


Instruct Employees and Other Persons

Are they aware of your hazard assessment? Make sure they know where and

when children are likely to be present and of the risks to children. Advise

them of the areas and operations where children should not be present.

Children should be kept out of danger

areas. Check frequently to ensure

that children are not in these areas.


Inform Visitors

Inform everybody who may introduce hazards into the premises, e.g.

drivers of vehicles, that children may be present. Perhaps a warning sign at

the entrance stating that children will be present may be appropriate.

Ensure that visiting workers abide by your safe systems of work.


Instruct and Supervise ChildrenWorking on the Farm

Make sure you know what jobs children should not do. When children

undertake jobs, identify the training, instruction and supervision necessary

to enable them to work safely. Ensure they are adequately trained and



Children should be excluded from:

Areas where the work conditions may effect their health e.g. where there

is excessive noise or dust.

Silage pits which should be well fenced off and not accessible.

Access to bulls and other potentially dangerous livestock.

Hazards such as slurry stores, silos, bulk storage hoppers, grain pits, etc.

Areas where there are stacks of hay or straw bales, pallets or sacks or

stacked timber etc.



Ladders should be stored in a safe place when not in use, e.g. on a wall

out of reach, laid on their side or made unclimbable in some way.

Heavy items of equipment such as gates or wheels detached from

tractors should be secured or laid flat to eliminate the risk of them

falling onto a child.

Fences, gates and walls should be kept in good repair. Vehicles,

including tractors, should be locked when parked.

Guards to machines should be kept in position. When it is necessary to

remove them, for instance when the machine is under repair, it must be

ensured that the machine cannot be started without the guard.

Remember that a guard designed to protect an adult may not be

effective for children, who have been known to squeeze through or

behind guards.

Empty cans or drums containing dangerous chemicals should be

thoroughly rinsed prior to safe disposal.

Access to water hazards such as slurry pits, ponds, streams and wells

should be controlled.When not in use sheep dipping baths should be

emptied and covered

Electrical circuits and equipment should be regularly checked and faults

corrected immediately to avoid the danger of electrocution.

Keep children out of areas where potentially dangerous animals are kept

Always drive at a safe speed particularly where children are present.


As well as physical barriers and warning notices being provided children

need to be told where they may not go, what to look for and must be

properly supervised.

Where they are involved in work activities they will need specific

instruction. The instruction, training and supervision given will depend

not only on the complexity and the risks involved, but also the child’s

age and experience.


Employees and others who work on agricultural premises also have a

responsibility to protect children there. Visiting workers such as

building or other contractors or delivery drivers must be made aware of

the need for particular care as they may not be used to the presence of

children in close proximity to work areas.

Drivers: Many accidents involve children

being run over or crushed by vehicles.

Drivers need to be constantly aware that

children could unexpectedly be in a

position of danger.