A solicitor is reminding farmers of the dangers of working with cattle, following a serious incident on a dairy farm recently.

We continue to see farm workers suffer serious injury and die as a result of incidents involving cattle, writes Suzanne Trask, partner and head of the adult brain injury team at Bolt Burdon Kemp.

A recent example is Ian Deacom, who worked on his family’s dairy farm in Northern Ireland.

Despite having life-long experience of handling cattle, Ian almost lost his life.

Whilst giving medication, he stepped into a crush with a cow.

Something startled her, and Ian became trapped against a wall.

Ian now appreciates that he was taking too much of a chance by stepping into the crush, given the unpredictability of the cow’s behaviour.

He’d like to share his experience to avoid others doing the same.

Ian escaped, and initially thought he’d just suffered bruising.

However, he was in a lot of pain and later went to hospital. He was found to have suffered internal bleeding and needed urgent surgery.

The doctors later had to remove his spleen.

He’s been left with a permanently weakened immune system.

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This has provided Ian with a stark reminder of the dangers of his work.

The figures speak for themselves. Between the years 2015/16 and 2019/20, the HSE investigated 142 injuries caused by animals in Great Britain.

22 of them resulted in a death and most related to people who worked on farms.

Life-changing injuries can be caused by taking a momentary risk.

Should you suffer brain or spinal damage, you could be left unable to work, needing help and support for the rest of your life.

Farms are a dangerous work environment.

If there is a hazard, farm owners need to do everything they can to minimise the risk of injury to workers, whether this is because of machinery or cattle.

Some equipment can make handling animals safer, such as crushes.

Extra caution should be taken when cows are with calves.

It is essential to have an escape route available to you at all times when working with animals in a confined environment.

Ian calls for care, and the need to avoid complacency.

He and his family appreciate how close he came to losing his life.

This was a stark reminder of the dangers of working on a farm and the importance of taking extra care.