FERMANAGH farmers have been urged to think of safety above all else while working following a near tragedy in the Roslea area in which a farmer in his 70s had to be rescued.
Two cows died in the incident, that kicked off around lunchtime on Thursday. The farmer had been mixing slurry in a shed when he was overcome by fumes. He was rescued by another man in his 40s.
A large number of emergency vehicles attended the accident, including two fire trucks, two ambulance crews, a rapid response team, and a hazard response team. Both farmers required medical treatment at the scene but did not need to be taken to hospital.
Following relief no one was seriously hurt in the incident, farmers have been given stark reminders of the need to always be cautious while at work.
Local farmer John Egerton, who has hosted safety awareness events on his farm, warned against complacency.
“Farmers are so busy, they have so much to they have to do. You take a chance to save an extra half hour, you think you haven’t got that half hour,” he said. “Then the next time you take another chance, then you take a bigger chance the next time.”
Mr Egerton added: “Think about if you’re not there, what happens to the farm? You think short term, but you have to think long term.”
Roslea’s Cllr John McCluskey said he felt the Department of Agriculture should make more farm visits to ensure strict health and safety regulations were being followed.
“The rules are very strict for mixing slurry. Every living being must be evacuated beforehand,” he said. “Farmers are tired working, especially working with machinery and so on, but strict rules and regulation must be applied and there should be more visits to farms.”
The Health and Safety Executive said they were making enquiries regarding the incident, while the NI Fire and Rescue Service issued the following advice.
“We would like to remind the farming community to ensure that the mixing of slurry is carried out in well ventilated spaces,” said a spokeswoman. “Stay out of the shed for 30 minutes after starting mixing or after moving or re-directing the pump, and try to mix on a windy day.”
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