Warning after slurry incidents

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A number of near misses on Northern Ireland farms over the past two weeks has prompted warnings to local farmers on the ‘extreme dangers’ of mixing slurry.

Local Sinn Féin MP Francie Molloy called on everyone involved in farming to take heed of safety warnings on mixing slurry.

He said: “Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in the North and unfortunately we have had a number of tragic deaths on farms in recent years.

“In the last two weeks four deaths have been narrowly avoided in incidents involving slurry mixing, prompting the Health and Safety Executive to issue a warning to farmers.

“I would urge all those involved in farming to take heed of this warning and to show extreme care and caution while mixing slurry.”

SDLP Farming Spokesperson Patsy McGlone MLA urged farm workers to be cautious when working with slurry.

He said:“Everyone working on a farm knows how dangerous slurry can be. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by fumes, putting yourself and others in danger.

“Even experienced farm workers need to exercise extra caution. No matter how many years you’ve been mixing, it only takes one incident to become a tragedy.

“In previous years the Health and Safety Executive has run very useful awareness campaigns warning about the dangers associated with farm working.

“Large machinery, handling animals and mixing slurry all pose significant risks. With farm business margins decreasing and people working harder and later, those risks are amplified.

“We’ve had a number of lucky escapes over the last few weeks thanks to the quick thinking and bravery of farming teams.

“The last thing we need is another tragedy in our rural communities. I would appeal again to people to exercise caution.”

Seven people died in farm accidents in the Province last year, according to HSENI figures.

Three of the fatalities involved livestock, and two people died in machinery accidents. One death was caused by a fall or falling objects and the final death was the result of an unspecified incident.