Working with the ‘right frame of mind’ is increasingly important for farm workers, especially those dealing with livestock. Megan Hesketh reports...
This was according to NFU Scotland (NFUS) who said livestock related injuries remained the leading cause of accidents on Scottish farms and crofts, mostly due to the ‘unpredictable nature’ of stock.
It comes on the back of this year’s slogan for the sixth Farm Safety Week, ‘Your health. Your Safety. Your choice’ which is encouraging farmers to connect with the importance of mental health and well-being on their farms.
Speaking from experience, Ian Pirie, a cattle and sheep farmer based in Aberdeenshire, said a hind-leg kick from a cow left him unable to work over the busiest period of the year.
He put out a reminder to highlight the ‘unpredictable nature of working with animals’ and to encourage farmers to prioritise safety, especially as children start to kick off their school summer holidays.
“It happened so quickly,” Mr Pirie said.
“I have had plenty of kicks by cattle over the last 50 years, so I did not think much of it.”
But Mr Pirie, who farms 200 breeding ewes and finishes 1,000 head of cattle, said the kick chipped his knee, severing the tendons above it.
It resulted in the need for immediate surgery.
He said: “If the surgery had not been carried out at that stage my knee would not have worked properly again.
“It is like broken cables, it is not something that reconnects over time.”
Farm Safety Week began in 2013, with the primary goal to reduce deaths and serious injuries in agriculture but is now grown by community driven demand for improved safety. Founded by The Scottish Government, NFU Mutual, NFU Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive, the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) unites the key stakeholders in Sottish farming with the aim in improving farm safety.