'Only a Giant Can Lift a Bull!' - Minister launches HSA sponsored children's farm safety book

Children's own stories and art about life on the farm by 86 child ambassadors for farm safety

Thursday 28th November

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D. has joined the Health and Safety Authority today, (Thursday 28th November) in launching a children’s book aimed at raising awareness of farm safety, in a year which has seen four child fatalities among the sixteen workplace deaths on farms to date. ‘Only a Giant can Lift a Bull’ is the work of 86 primary school children, from all over Ireland, who won the 2013 HSA primary schools’ farm safety story/art competition, organised with support from the 21 full time Education Centres. The book has been published by Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership and will be sent to every primary school and county library in the country.

Minister Coveney said, “This book is the work of children themselves, written in their own words with stories and images from their own lives. They tell us how great farming life is and how involved they are in the every-day life of farm work.  They also tell us how dangerous farms can be and many have witnessed their parents, grandparents and others take risks and suffer the awful consequences. I am calling on farmers to take more responsibility, and stop taking unnecessary risks, for their own sake and for the sake of the next generation.”

Martin O’Halloran, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority said: “Over 9,500 children answered the HSA call to tell their stories about staying safe on the farm. We are delighted to be celebrating some of these children here today with the publication of this book. Their stories are funny, moving and life-affirming. Some have written about lessons learnt the hard way. It’s time now to heed this new generation. I would appeal directly to all adults working on farms, particularly parents and grandparents, to think about the example they are showing to children and young people and to always find a way to work safely. We need to see a change of mind set amongst some farmers now, to ensure we don’t create a new generation of risk takers in farming. ”

Orla Kenny, Creative Director with Kids’ Own Publishing said, “As the only dedicated children’s publisher in Ireland, our artists and writers worked directly with the children to ensure their voices were heard in this beautiful book. The HSA hasrecognised that children have a significant role to play in making farms safe to live and work on. What came across so clearly is that children have a wealth of experience and passion about farm life. We look forward to working with schools now to ensure this book is actively used as a resource to promote farm safety.”

Paul Fields, Director, Kilkenny Education Centre said, “We were delighted to work with the HSA on the 2013 HSA primary schools’ farm safety story and art competition.  It’s great to see it coming to fruition now with the publication of ‘Only a Giant Can Lift a Bull!’. All 21 of the full-time Education Centres got right behind this campaign and promoted it across schools in every county. We found that children were really engaged in learning about farm safety. They raised their own awareness levels in school as well as bringing the safety message home to parents.”