26 July 2002

Child safety appeal

NFU Cymru president Peredur Hughes called on showgoers to adopt a zero tolerance attitude to child deaths and injuries on farms.

Launching the Welsh end of a new national multi-agency campaign he said the aim was to reduce child deaths from 40 in the last decade to zero by 2004.

"There is nothing more distressing than the death of a child. Farms are extremely interesting and educational places, but they are nevertheless workplaces with potential dangers."

The joint initiative involving 70 stakeholders, including government departments and agencies, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and teacher groups, aimed to raise awareness and develop new safety initiatives.

The unions Friendly Farm Club would assist by publishing information, and Mr Hughes distributed the first tractor cab and farm vehicle stickers designed as a constant reminder of the dangers on farms.

Nevertheless, in a separate briefing, the HSEs chief inspector of agriculture Linda Williams, said that the majority of Welsh farm accidents still involved older and more experienced workers. Her message to showgoers was to avoid complacency about their health and safety, especially when dealing with evermore complex machinery.

"All too often it is lack of awareness of hazards and a flagrant disregard of the risks involved that result in needless deaths in farming."