Accident Survivors’ Plea to farmers to THINK SAFE at ABP Event

Agri-food business and Platinum Sponsor of Balmoral Show, ABP, hosted a special event on the first morning of Balmoral for farmer suppliers and industry stakeholders to hear the personal perspectives of two survivors of serious farm accidents.

ABP is the only local meat processor to hold affiliate membership of the Farm Safety Partnership Scheme and is also a patron of the charity, Embrace Farm, a support network for farming families who have lost a loved one or suffered an injury as a result of a farm accident.

“We took the opportunity to host this event at the Balmoral Show as part of our commitment to increasing awareness of farm safety and related issues,” explained George Mullan, Managing Director of ABP in Northern Ireland.

“As a platinum sponsor of the Show, we hope the platform helps draw attention to the life-changing impact of farm accidents and stimulates a discussion on what the agricultural industry can do to continue to build a community of support for the sector.”

The assembled audience which consisted of ABP’s farmer suppliers and stakeholders within the agricultural sector heard about the life-changing consequences of injuries sustained by two farm accident survivors.

William Sayers, the son of a dairy farmer from Co. Tyrone, lost his arm when he was 12 years of age as a result of a farm machinery accident. William offered this advice to farmers: “I lived with the attitude that it would never happen to me. I urge farmers to take 5 minutes, or whatever time it takes, to do the job at hand safely. It can make all the difference.”

Ann Doherty, a mother of three from Kilkenny, was attacked by a bull ten years ago. “Your whole life is affected – and your families too. The psychological impact is much harder to deal with than the physical impact. I wasn’t able to talk about my accident for a long time but I am now able to share my story and I hope it helps encourage others to take more care on the farm. For the sake of a few minutes, put your phone down and concentrate on what you are doing.”

In a facilitated discussion with the TV presenter, Paul Clark, the two survivors gave personal accounts of the events leading up to their accidents and the consequences of the traumatic events for both their family and the farm.

ABP Farm Safety Event Balmoral 2019 from ABP Food Group on Vimeo.

In his opening remarks, Harry Sinclair, Chair of the Farm Safety Partnership said that ‘farming still had a poor safety record and there were too many accidents involving the main hazard areas of slurry, animals, falls and equipment.’

“Taking a moment before starting a task may be the difference between losing life or limb,” warned Sinclair. “We need to ask ourselves, is there anything else to do to make this work safer, such as getting help or using the right equipment?”

Thanking ABP for hosting the event, he said, “I am grateful for the work that ABP and our other affiliate members are doing to promote farm safety and drive up health & safety practices including their support for our schools’ competition during Balmoral.”

Embrace FARM was set up by Norma and Brian Rohan in 2014 when Brian lost his father as a result of a fatal farm accident. Embrace Farm obtained its fully charitable status in 2017. It is the first not-for-profit organisation of its kind for the farming community on the island of Ireland. To find out more visit