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HSA recognises Young Social Innovators on farm safety in bid to tackle farm deaths

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The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has joined forces with Young Social Innovators (YSI) to recognise innovative Transition Year students on getting the farm safety message to communities around the country. At the Annual YSI Showcase in Citywest Hotel on 7th May, five schools received special certificates of recognition from the Authority during an event in which students ‘speak-out’ on farm safety using rap, humour and drama to highlight their projects to raise awareness of farm safety issues.

Panel members from the Farm Safety Partnership organisations including: HSA, IFA, Teagasc, Farm Relief Services and the Professional Agricultural Contractors of Ireland, listened to the presentations from the students and engaged in a question and answer session with them. Schools receiving awards were: St. Mary’s Secondary School, Charleville; CBS, Thurles; St. Brendan’s College, Killarney; St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Tulla, Co. Clare and Mercy Secondary School, Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath.

HSA Chief Executive, Martin O’Halloran said, “It’s incredible to see the passion and energy coming from young students in getting the farm safety message out there. We came here today to see young people energised about seeking to change something tragic at the heart of farming life in Ireland. Sixteen people died in Ireland in work-related accidents on farms last year and ten have died this year so far, including a number of tragedies in the past week.”

“Young people can and must influence their parents, grandparents and friends on farms. They can keep themselves safe and send a strong message home about the kinds of changes in behaviour we have to see, to bring down the death toll in this sector.”

Education Manager, Joanne Harmon said, “We are delighted to team up with Young Social Innovators in recognising the achievements of young people in seeking to change their own lives and those around them for the better. It is heartening to see that young people in farming families recognise the importance of changing behaviour on their own doorstep and are getting the message out loud and clear that farms are hazardous workplaces.”

Rachel Collier, Chief Executive of Young Social Innovators, said, "The farm safety message is one we are very pleased to see raised by young people this year across the country. It is an important issue that affects many families and communities throughout rural Ireland. Through Young Social Innovators, young people are challenged to implement innovative solutions to social issues that affect them and we hope that these farm safety projects will have a real impact on local communities and result in fewer injuries and deaths on farms.”

The farm safety projects were among 424 social innovation projects undertaken by 6,000 young people from throughout Ireland as part of the Young Social Innovators ACTION programme in 2014. Around 4,500 young people were in attendance at the Annual Showcase event.