Farm Safety Week: The livestock safety ABC

farm safety week 2015 logo_275_219This year’s Farm Safety Week is being supported by a greater number of organisations than ever including the Farm Safety Foundation, Farm Safety Partnership, the Health & Safety Executive, Health & Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and the Health & Safety Authority, Ireland.

From falls and transport to child safety – Farm Safety Week (6-10 July) offers five days of themed practical advice and guidance.

It comes just after the HSE released the annual workplace fatality statistics for Great Britain.

#farmsafetyweek graphic, farm safety week, healthSome 33 fatal injuries to agricultural workers were recorded – a rate of 9.12 deaths per 100,000 workers, the same as the average of 33 deaths in the past five years and, unfortunately, an increase from the 27 deaths recorded in 2013/14.

Today’s focus: The livestock ABC - 'Always Be Careful'

James Eckley, NFYFC  and Farm Safety Partnership England member, said: “Over the past five years 17% of all reported major injuries are as a result of livestock-related incidents and 11% of all workers killed on farms over this period were livestock-related. Handling livestock always involves risks, from crushing to kicking and butting.

“Farm workers of any age run the risk of injury or death from livestock related accidents. Livestock can be unpredictable and there is always a risk from crushing, kicking, butting or goring.  We should all learn lessons from Carmen's tragic accident (see below) and think very carefully before working with cattle to ensure it's done as safely as possible.

"Don’t learn safety by accident. Take the time to think about what you are doing and what might go wrong."

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Carmen's story...

Carmen Wood and her family know all too well the effect an incident like this can have, after she suffered serious injury after a newly-calved Aberdeen Angus cow turned on her nine years ago.

cows in field and hills, cattle, livestock, farm sCarmen, who still suffers from the effects of the accident, had been moving a small group of cow and calves with her husband Rog on their hill farm Auchentaggart, near Sanquhar. Rog, who is currently the farming correspondent for The Herald, had gone ahead in the Land Rover to open a gate, when the beast turned on Carmen without warning.

The cow knocked her to the ground, gored her with its head and trampled her. That left her seriously injured and fighting for her life in the Intensive Care Unit at Dumfries Royal Infirmary following a lengthy operation involving 30 pints of blood and the removal of her right lung and two ribs.

After spending three weeks in intensive care, Carmen went on to develop serious complications when the cavity where her lung had been became infected with a cocktail of infections that included MRSA and a very persistent strain of pseudomonas. Following several months in hospital fighting those infections she then went on to have further major surgery to her chest.

Although she has now made a good recovery, Carmen still suffers pain, her posture and mobility has been affected and she suffers badly when she gets an infection in her remaining lung.

The accident also had a serious implications for the rest of the family and with Rog committed to nursing his recuperating wife, the farm was not financially viable and a difficult decision was made to give it up.

Despite the devastating consequences of that day, Carmen considers herself fortunate that husband Rog was near and managed to summon medical assistance quickly. She realises she could have been alone and lain unattended for hours which, in her case, would have been fatal.


Last edited on: 09:07:2015

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  • Posted by: Shelagh CampbellPosted on: 24/03/2016 15:03:03

    Comment: Is it a legal requirement to have a bull ring put in a Bull's nose? We have Aberdeen-Angus cattle

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