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The FARM SAFETY CIRCLE has been designed to help AgriKids and their parents learn more about how to

"Be Farm Safe & Stay Farm Safe".

Lets work together to spread this safety message - share with your friends & family. If you have a helpful farm safety tip or resource you would like to share with us, get in touch with Alma today on

Click on the info boxes below for quick tips, useful downloads and more.

Fields – Are there warning signs?
  • Always look out for signs that warn you of any dangers.
  • If there is a warning sign in place, STAY AWAY.
  • Stay out of fields that have a bull or cows with young calves grazing.
  • Never enter a field that is not your property, this is trespassing.
  • Be careful of the fencing as some farmers use barbed wire and electric wire on their fences – you could get cut or get a nasty shock!
  • Always close gates after you!
  • Make sure your children are aware of the various signs to look out for.
  • Do they understand their meanings?
  • Are they aware of where they can and cannot play?

Animals – They can injure or even kill
  • Remember farm animals are not pets.
  • Other animals such as bulls and boars can be very aggressive and dangerous, their large size also means they can run very fast.
  • Always approach them from the front so they can see what you are doing.
  • If you want to approach an animal, ask an adult who knows the animal to approach it with you. The animal will be less nervous and less likely to become upset.
  • Never approach a farm animal when they are with their young, they are very protective and can attack.
  • Always wear a helmet, back protector and other protective clothing when riding a horse.
  • After you’ve been around farm animals, be sure to wash your hands with warm water and soap – germs can carry from animals to you!
  • Explain the dangers of farm animals to your children.
  • Be extra vigilant during lambing, calving and foaling season when once placid animals can become more aggressive and unpredictable.
  • Enforce hand washing after contact – Zoonoses are diseases passed from animals to humans.
  • Reduce the risk of infection vaccinating and wearing protective clothing when handling animals or potentially infected material such as afterbirth or faeces.


Safe Handling of Cattle on Farms

Roads – Stop and wait!
  • Always walk on the right hand side of the road and cycle on the left.
  • Don’t forget your cycling helmet!
  • NEVER take a lift from a stranger and stand in when a vehicle approaches.
  • When crossing always follow the SAFE CROSS CODE.

ONE – look for a safe place

TWO – don’t hurry stop and wait

THREE – look all around and listen before you cross the road, remember

FOUR – let all the traffic pass you

FIVE – then walking straight across you

SIX – Keep watching, that’s the SAFE CROSS CODE


  • Organise a family walk and practice the safe cross code.
  • Always insist you and your family wear hi vis clothing.

For more log on to Road Safety Authority.


The Safe Cross Code

Machinery – Stand back!
  • Farm machinery is very powerful and must only be operated by a fully trained adult.
  • Some machines can catch you or your clothes if you get too near, and this can cause a serious accident.
  • Power Take Off devices (PTO’s), can rotate at 2.4 metres per second, never stand too close and make sure your clothing is tied and not flapping.
  • PTO guards should always be in place and in perfect working order.
  • If you want a closer look only do so with a grown up and when the machine is not in use.
  • NEVER try to start or use farm machinery alone.

Remember, younger members often follow the work habits of adults, so make sure you lead by example.

  • Keep children away from farm machinery when it is in use.
  • Be sure PTO shields are in place and in good condition.PTO guards must be in place
  • Start and stop the PTO from the tractor seat.
  • Do not wear lose fitted clothing.
  • Detach or remove draw strings from sweatshirts and jackets.
  • Tie back long hair.
  • Never walk over a PTO – Walk around it.


Safe use of tractors and machinery

Slurry – One Breath Can Kill!
  • Slurry is the waste, (or poop), from farm animals, mostly cattle. It is used on farms as fertilizer for the soil.
  • It is normally stored in a large pit.
  • In large quantities and in enclosed spaces it produces deadly gases, ONE lungful of this gas can kill you!
  • You can also drown in slurry if you fall in.
  • Sometimes a hard crust can form on the surface of a slurry pit, so NEVER run or walk across it. The surface can be thin and it can break under your weight.
  • ‘Agitating’ slurry means the mixing or churning of slurry to prepare it for spreading on fields as fertiliser.
  • Agitation should be done on windy days
  • Children and pets should never be in the vicinity during slurry agitation or spreading.
  • Animals should be taken out of sheds before agitation starts.
  • Agitate slurry on windy days if possible.
  • Agitation points should be located outside of the building.
  • Do not enter house for at least 30 minutes after agitation commences.


HSENI Working safely with slurry

Take time to view the H.S.A video on slurry safety:

All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) – what are you wearing?
  • In Ireland you must to be over the age of 14 and have suitable training and supervision to drive an ATV (quad) on a farmyard.
  • You must be over 16 years of age to drive some ATV’s (Quads).
  • Always consider the risk of overturning on sloping ground.
  • All ATV drivers should wear a helmet and protective clothing.
  • Never speed on an ATV (Quad) and always corner carefully.
  • No passengers are permitted on an ATV.


HSA Safe use of Quad Bikes (ATV)

Former president of the IFA, John Dillon, shares his story:

Farm Yards – Do not enter alone!
  • Never enter a farm yard without telling the farmer.
  • While on a farm listen and do what the farmer tells you.
  • Stay aware and alert to any hazards that may cause you to trip or injure yourself.
  • Warning signage should be in place for hazardous areas.
  • Farm yards should be kept tidy and free from any hazards that may cause you to trip and fall.
  • Adequate lighting is essential in areas used after dark.
  • All chemicals and machinery should be stored away.


Teagasc Farm and Buildings

Electricity – Know the risks!
  • Keep away from fallen electricity wires.
  • Never touch or come near fallen electricity wires.
  • Always tell an adult if you see any fallen wires.

Risk: Unsafe and faulty electrical installations

Electrical fittings on a farm should be checked regularly. With so much dust, water, not to mention the possible damage caused by animals and machinery, having incorrect fittings can result in accident and injury.

Risk: When machines are working near overhead power lines

Farm machinery such as combine harvesters, tipping trailers and moving high loads can cause major risks if there are overhead power lines.

Farmers must be extra vigilant and ensure that poles, stay-wires and protective earth wires (attached to poles) are not damaged during farming work.

Previous causes of accidents on Irish farms were from:

  • Welding in a farm shed.
  • Electric fence connected to 230 Volts ac rather than through the electric fence unit.
  • Milking machine became live due to faulty wiring.
  • A silage harvester made contact with a 10,000 volt (10kV) overhead power line.
  • Cutting timber close to a 20,000 volt (20kV) overhead power line.
  • Power washing a cow shed using an extension lead.


In the event of fallen or exposed wires contact your local electriity network provider. In Ireland this is ESB Networks: 1850 372 999



ESB Farm Safely with Electricity

Tractors – Always Stay Back!
  • Never stand near a tractor or any farm machinery that is in use.
  • As drivers sit up high they may not see you until it is too late.
  • You are not allowed to ride in a tractor if you are under 7 years of age.
  • Tractors are also very noisy and the driver will not hear you, only approach a tractor that is stopped, engine switched off and bucket or loader has been placed on the ground.
  • If you are over 7 you can travel in a tractor with a suitable seat and safety belt.
  • No child under the age of 7* is permitted in a tractor that is in use.
  • Ensure you have suitable safety belts on passenger seats.
  • All passengers should wear a hi visibility vest.
  • When not in use ensure the hand brake is on and fork / bucket is placed back on the ground.
*Irish regulations -



HSA Tractor Safety & You

You – Be Alert, Be Aware!
  • If you see anything that you believe is dangerous or could cause harm tell a grown up.
  • Know where the dangers are:
    • Tractors – if they’re in use, stay back.
    • Machinery – it’s big, it’s loud, it’s not for you.
    • Animals – lovely to look at, but can be cranky – don’t get a nip, a kick or a puck from a mammy cow or mare.
    • Slurry pits – one breath can kill.
    • Water – keep the swimming for the swimming pools and paddling for the ponds.
    • Chemicals – know your toxic signs for more see our ‘chemicals‘ section.
  • Remember: Be Farm Safe, Stay Farm Safe.
  • Encourage your children to be vigilant to the potential dangers and hazards.
  • For great tips see our section in ‘Learning‘.

FARMERS – You must take personal responsibility for safety on your farm!

  • Farm Safety starts and finishes with you!
  • Always think about and build farm safety into every job.
  • Think about what could go wrong and take action to stay safe.
  • Plan farm safety for 5 minutes every day.
  • For unusual jobs, step back for a minute and make sure it can be done safely.
  • Make sure you don’t give bad example to your children.


HSA Play Safe, Stay Safe

Chemicals – Know the toxic signs!

How do you know if something is dangerous to touch or smell? The label may read “caution,” “poison,” or “danger.” Some of these chemicals are toxic (tok-sik) or poisonous.

Chemicals may cause death or serious injury in different ways –

  • Learn the signs.
  • Inhalation (breathed in).
  • Ingestion (swallowed).
  • Absorption (soaks into your skin or eyes).

The effects may range from irritation, allergy and poisoning, permanent damage to internal organs and death.

  • All chemicals should be kept in a locked store away from children.
  • They should be kept in their correct containers, correctly and clearly labelled.
  • No one under 16 years should handle chemicals.
  • Follow the instructions given carefully when handling and storing chemicals.
  • All equipment used should be maintained and in safe working order e.g. nap sack sprayers.
  • Only protective equipment of suitable quality should be used.
  • Wash hands and exposed skin immediately after use.
  • Dispose of containers in a safe eco-friendly way.


Teagasc Pesticide Code of Practice

Injury – know your first aid and first response
  • Do you know where the first aid kit is
  • Do you know the number to ring in the event of an emergency
  • Print and Download our ‘Emergency First Aid and Response’ flier.
    This vital two page flier has been supplied to us by Work Wise, an award winning first aid company.
  • Inform your children of what to do in the event of an emergency
  • Ensure you know your general first aid
  • Is your first aid kit well stocked & accessible
  • Keep a list of emergency numbersRemember
    • Call your emergency numbers: 999, 911 or 112 for help
    • Assess the situation – how did it happen
    • Approach the injured person calmly and remove any hazards
    • Act – Delegate tasks until help arrives (ambulance directions, keeping injured warm, etc.
  • Organise some first aid training for your home, farm, stud, etc. It may be life saving investment some day!


Emergency First Aid

Rivers, lakes & waterholes– Prevent drowning – Fence off!

Drowning on farms can happen in many areas

Stay away from:

  • Slurry pits
  • Waterholes
  • Rivers
  • Grain stores
  • Water troughs
  • Open barrels
  • Ditches
  • Streams
  • Grain silos
  • Sheep dip tanks
  • Irrigation reservoirs
  • Open wells
  • Be extra careful of Weils disease which is spread in the urine of infected animals (wild and domestic) and in water or soil contaminated with infected urine.
  • Speak to your children about the dangers and staying safe when near slurry or water.
  • Animals should not have direct access to rivers or streams.
  • All water areas must be fenced and kept safely.
  • Sheep dips, water barrels and water tanks should be kept properly covered when not in use.

Know the symptoms of Weils disease which may include:

  • fever
  • headaches
  • chills
  • severe muscle pain in the calves and thighs
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea and
  • bloodshot eyes
  • Sometimes the fever may fluctuate and other symptoms such as a rash, jaundice, confusion, depression, kidney failure, liver failure and meningitis may occur. The incubation period is usually 10 days but can range from 4 to 19 days. If Symptoms persist please contact your G.P.


IWS Water Safety on the Farm

Climbing – prevent falls from ladders, bales, silage pits……
  • Climbing can be dangerous and cause you to fall and hurt yourself.
  • So stay away from ladders and bales, pallets, tyres or anything else that you might find piled up on the farm.
  • Bales, pallets and tyres are often very wobbly and can easily fall.
  • Never try to play on old swings – the ropes may be rotted and dangerous.
  • A falling bale or tractor tyre can weigh as much as several grown adults and can kill you if it hits you.
  • When you’re playing, keep your two feet on the ground, and not in the air.
  • Make sure ladders are tidied away and not
    causing any unnecessary temptation.
  • Remove all old rope and tyre swings from your farm.


HSENI Preventing Falls

Learn – Talk About Farm Safety
  • Ask your parents, guardians and teachers to talk to you about farm safety.
  • Download and display the AgriKids Farm Safety Circle in your home or school.
  • Remember you can read all about the adventures of Tom, Sarah & Mr Brambles in ‘Tales from Riverside Farm’.
  • If and when you are on the farm or taking a country walk, take some time to discuss farm safety with your little ones.
  • Point out areas that are dangerous: rivers, fields with livestock, slurry areas, tractors, machinery and high stacked bales.
  • Let them know where they can play and where to stay away.
  • Check out AgriAware and Dublin Zoo’s Family Farm, for their great farm safety activities (Source: AgriAware and Dublin Zoo).


HSA Farm Safety for Children and Young Persons

Elderly – Mind our older farmers

Decreased mobility and reaction time are probably the biggest contributory factors to farming accidents to older farmers.


If you have an older farmer living or working nearby take the time to help them with difficult jobs and make them aware of safety.

Especially if:

  • they are working with livestock on their own.
  • their tractors and machinery are not well maintained.
  • they have PTO guards broken or missing.
  • they are taking risks fixing buildings and roofs.
  • they need maintenance help around they yard and farm buildings


HSA Safety for Older Farmers

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