Incidents involving livestock are the second biggest cause of farm fatalities and farmers are being urged to focus the next three months better managing risk.
It comes as part of the Farm Safety Partnership’s (FSP) 12-month farm safety campaign, kicking off its second three-month stint on safe working with livestock from April 2 to June 30.
Last year 24 per cent of fatalities were a result of contact with livestock, with the NFU suggesting older people were most at risk.
This year alone at least two people have died following an incident with livestock, including a dog walker, 67, who was trampled by cattle and a 68-year-old man who died when helping a neighbour load cattle onto a trailer.
NFU farm safety and transport policy adviser Tom Price said 65 per cent of fatal incident victims in livestock incidents in 2018 were over the age of 65 years, with four victims 80 or older.
He said: “Good handling, safe practices and the effective management of aggressive animals will help reduce the risk for everyone but are even more important for older persons.
“This is because no matter how fit a person is, it is inevitable that with age comes a reduction in agility, responsiveness and resilience.
“It may be hard to accept after a lifetime in farming but farmers must think very seriously, at any age, as to whether they still have the skills and physical ability to handle cattle safely and keep themselves free from harm.”
The FSP is urging farmers to use well designed handling facilities, and keep them maintained; to be cautious when entering a cattle enclosure and always have an escape route; to remove aggressive animals from the herd; and to separate livestock from the public.
Mr Price said: “Many fatal incidents occurred in situations which could have been avoided if suitable handling facilities were available and used, lone working was avoided and an escape route was available.”
NFU livestock board chairman Richard Findlay added: “We must show ourselves the same duty of care that we show our animals, and ensure that we have the right facilities and processes in place to minimise any dangers when handling them.
“Be vigilant, be aware, and stay safe.”
For more, go to #FarmSafetyPartnership.