Farm Safety Awareness





26th May 2017

School’s Out, Give Farm Safety a Big Shout!

Dear Principal,

We all want our children to return to school safe and well in September. We are writing to you, as part of a national awareness raising effort, to appeal to your teachers to make the last message given to children before the summer break a farm safety message. This is a high risk time for children on farms and we are asking for your help in preventing a child in your school from being seriously injured or dying in a farm accident this summer. We know you may be visiting farms on school trips this month, which presents an ideal opportunity for exploring Farm Safety in the classroom.

In the past decade (2007-2016) farm accidents have claimed the lives of 23 children. These are dreadful tragedies for families and heart-breaking for communities and schools alike. It’s important that children from both farming and non-farming backgrounds hear these messages as holidays are a high risk time for children who are off school and spend a lot of time on their family farm or visiting friends’ and relatives’ farms. It’s also a very busy time for farmers when much work needs to be done.

In the last few weeks of school, we are asking you to do the following:

Bring this letter to the attention of your teachers and highlight the resources developed to give key farm safety messages in 30 minutes. These include a set of 7 Powerpoint slides, specifically developed for use in all primary classes available at the link below. Teachers can use them with their whiteboards or print off to photocopy. You can find and download the slides called:  Farm Safety presentation under the Teacher Support and Resources section of the HSA website at The last slide contains links to further HSA farm safety resources on the HSA website, which include a series of short Farm Safety videos involving children on their own farms.  In addition to this, the HSA’s dedicated elearning portal contains a short interactive course for primary pupils called Keep Safe on the Farm (40 minute on-line course suitable for the whiteboard)   which can be found under the Primary Schools tab.

Farm safety is an explicit topic in the SPHE curriculum at primary level.  Schools can make a real difference to children by equipping them with the skills to keep them safe on the farm and encouraging them to bring the safety message home to parents and grandparents. We are asking you to join with us in helping to prevent children from dying on farms this summer.  By working together, we can bring a positive safety message home to them and their families. The last message they receive before the summer break could save their lives.


The Health and Safety Authority in conjunction with the Education Centres organised an ‘On the Farm’ competition for Primary Schools.

The competition was aimed at raising awareness among students and their families about the critical issue of safety on farms.

The competition was divided into four age group categories. Students submitted a drawing, painting, collage, photograph, poem or a short story, about life on the farm, which includes an angle on staying safe on the Farm.

84 competition winners including four from West Cork were involving in creating a book on Farm Safety which was launched in Croke Park on November 28th. This book has been published by the HSA in conjunction with Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership and the Network of Education Centres.

Congratulations to the four winners from West Cork:

Eimear McCarthy, Scoil Eoin
Gráinne McCarthy, Derrinacahara N.S
Róisín Ní Riordáin, Scoil Chúil Aodha
Olivia Shortall, St. Mary’s N.S


The Health and Safety Authority and West Cork Education Centre has today, 27th  June 2012, announced the winners of their farm safety poster and slogan competition open to primary school children nationwide. Sarah McCarthy, 6th Class, Drimoleague SNR. N.S. was the overall winner in the West Cork Education Centre catchment area.

Mary McCarthy representing the West Cork Education Centre and David Barry of the Health & Safety Authority presented the winner with her prize money of €100 for herself and €250 for her school.  The competition was aimed at raising awareness of child safety on farms and children were asked to draw or paint a poster and slogan, highlighting the dangers on farms.  The winning posters and slogans will be published in a Health and Safety Authority calendar for 2013 which will be sent to all schools later in the year.

Joanne Harmon, Education Manager with the Health and Safety Authority said, “We’re delighted to present the winners with their well-deserved prize money.  It’s so important for children to become aware of the dangers on farms, especially coming into the summer season when they are off school and around the farm or visiting farms. Six children have died in farm accidents over the past four years. The tragedy of a child’s death at the place where a family lives and earns their livelihood is an unimaginable horror that we must all be vigilant to prevent.

“Farms are dangerous places for children as they combine both home and workplace and unfortunately, children continue to get injured and die in farm accidents. What can seem like a playground full of adventure for a child can bring devastating consequences for families. The lines can get blurred between work and safe play areas.  Particular risk areas for children include moving tractors, machinery and quad bikes, slurry tanks, hazards at height including hay barns, animals and the storage of chemicals.

 Mary O’Donovan, Director of West Cork Education Centre said, “We are delighted to be associated with a competition like this which is promoting the health and well-being of children such as safety on the farm. We have had a huge response to the competition and children respond well to being educated about the risks around them.  They raised their own awareness of safety on the farm as well as bringing the safety message home to parents.’

Pictured at the prize giving of the Health and Safety Authority’s farm safety poster competition, was overall winner, Sarah McCarthy, 6th class, Drimoleague SNR. NS., Drimoleague, Co. Cork, with David Barry of the Health and Safety Authority and West Cork Education Centre Representative Mary McCarthy. Also included in the photo are Imelda McCarthy (Sarah’s mother) and Gerard Walsh (Board of Management Drimoleague N.S.)






West Cork Education Centre, in conjunction with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), organised a Poster and Slogan Competition for primaryschools. The competition was aimed at raising awareness among students and their families about the critical issue of safety on farms.

Tragically, 22 people died on farms in 2011, and farms remain the only workplace where children continue to die in accidents every year. As part of the Authority’s campaign toreduce accidents and fatalities they directly appealed to schools to help raise crucial levels of farm safety awareness.

Students who participated in the poster/slogan competition did not have to be from a farming background, as many students visit the farms of relations and friends, especially during the summer months. The participating schools were asked to encourage their students to discuss the competition at home in order to raise awareness of farm safety issues among the whole family. 

The initiative involved a poster and slogan competition for primary school children nationwide. The competition was divided into two age group categories.

  • Students up to and including 2nd class
  • Students from 3rd. to 6th. class


A calendar will be published in 2013 with a number of the winning entries displayed. This calendar will be distributed nationwide. The 2013 calendar will be equally representative of the above age group categories.  West Cork Education Centre will have at least one winning poster and slogan published in a specially commissioned competition calendar, for 2013. All primary schools will receive a free copy of the calendar in December 2012.


The HSA has provided over €7000 in prize money for the nationwide poster competition. The prize money is exclusively for schools within the network of full time Education Centre catchment areas:

I.      The winning students will receive €100 each and a Certificate of Achievement from the HSA (21 national winners in total).

II.      Each of the schools represented by winning students will receive €250 for appropriate use at the school (21 national winners in total).

(In total the winning students will receive €100 each and €250 for their school)


Suggested Categories of Posters

Students were asked to draw/paint a poster and slogan on any one of, or a combination of the following hazards/areas on farms;

Slurry Pits; Quad bikes; Playing near overhead lines; Hay barns and stacked bales (height); Water on farms; Storage of chemicals/pesticides; PTO on tractors; Moving machinery and vehicles; Safe play area for children on farm; Personal Protective Equipment; Tree-felling/chainsaws and equipment; Bulls/animal handling.

All entries from the 21 Education Centre catchment areas were sent to the local Education Centre for judging, accompanied by a list of entrants and completed student identification form attached to the back of each poster. At least one entry from West Cork Education Centre will appear on the HSA 2013 Farm Safety Calendar. In addition, HSA the will provide a template for each school to upload their posters and to produce their own school calendar for 2013.  It would make a useful fundraising activity, with all proceeds going to the school.

21 posters will be chosen from the nationwide entries, by judges appointed by the HSA and the Network of Education Centres.

The Authority’s website at