The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) is urging members of the farming community to take care in the maintenance and storage of slurry on farms across Northern Ireland.
Group Commander Fergal Leonard said: “Firefighters have attended 11 incidents of animals falling into slurry pits this year which has resulted in loss of animal life.
“For Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, public safety is our priority and the best course of action is through prevention. We would appeal to farmers to be vigilant in ensuring the access hatches into slurry pits are secure and well maintained.
“At this time of year, slurry is being removed from the pits and used as fertiliser on the fields. This can be hazardous if the slurry pit is not properly ventilated during mixing operations and storage lids are not replaced immediately after filling a tanker.
“Animals can also come into difficulties when in the fields, if hazards are left unattended which can result in an animal getting stuck. This can be both distressing not only for the animal involved but for the owner of the animal and property.
“By taking these precautions at the farm, this will keep both the farming community safe at work and also their livestock from harm. For further information in relation to farm safety, please see www.hseni.gov.uk/farmsafe
“Malcolm Downey who heads up HSENI’s farm safety team said: “Children and animals must be kept well away during slurry mixing and all openings need to be covered to prevent falls into the slurry tank. Keep all unnecessary openings to slurry tanks covered and if slats are removed, cover exposed areas of the tank beside the pump/mixer.”