Church backs HSE campaign

Worshippers at a church service in North Yorkshire backed the HSE’s latest campaign yesterday.

Attending the “Plough Sunday” service, parishioners of St Andrew’s in Kirkby Malzeard pledged their commitment to putting safety first, by supporting the the Make the Promise campaign, which aims to reduce the number of farming deaths and injuries.

The community wore the campaign’s “Promise Knot” − a symbolic knot of baling twine, intended to act as a constant reminder of the pledge they have made.

“Kirkby Malzeard is a close knit, traditional farming community and as far as we are concerned any farming accident is one too many,” said vicar of St Andrew’s, Revd Robert Sellers.

“Plough Sunday is when we all come together to ask for God’s blessing on the land and is the ideal time for us all to remember the safety of ourselves, our families and our neighbours,” he added.

Plough Sunday marks the start of the farming year and is an opportunity for communities to ask for God’s blessing on the land and their work. During the service, a ploughshare is traditionally brought into the church to receive a blessing.

Judith Donovan, HSE board member and local resident, said: “The ‘Make the Promise’ campaign is designed to unite communities around the importance of coming home safe at the end of every farming day.”

Agriculture is one of the UK’s most dangerous professions and accounts for one in five work-related deaths every year, even though only 1.5 per cent of the working population are employed in the sector.

Across Great Britain, 38 workers lost their lives in farming-related incidents between January and November 2009 and in 2008/09 there were 589 seriously injured in farming accidents.

* Read one man’s story of how a farming accident changed his life.