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David Coar

North West

David Coar was rushing to finish work early on Christmas Eve when his hand slipped and he badly injured it.

The 44-year-old, who is married with one daughter, had been forking out bales of silage from equipment on the front of his tractor when he caught his hand on the jaws.

Now David, from Yew Tree Farm in Livesey, Lancashire, is urging other farmers to think more about their safety and has given his backing to the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) ‘Make the Promise’ campaign.

He said: “Luckily my hand only needed a few stitches but it could have been a lot worse. If I’d have cut my wrist or a main artery then it would have been a completely different story.

“I was rushing to get everything finished before Christmas when my hand slipped and caught the teeth on the tractor. I was wearing gloves but it went straight through and cut the bottom of my finger. That taught me a lesson and made me change the way I feed the sheep.

“I now put the bales in a trailer before lifting them out. It takes me a bit longer but it’s definitely worth it to make sure I can feed them safely.”

David lives on the 125-acre beef and sheep farm with his wife Laura, 40, and their daughter Gemma, 19.

He is one of thousands of farmers across Great Britain who have placed ‘Promise Knots’ around their homes and farms as a simple, but ever-present, reminder of their pledge to come home safe.

Laura said: “David was very lucky. If he had been more badly injured, and couldn’t work for a long time, then I dread to think of the impact it would have had on the farm, and on Gemma and me.

“I do worry about David when he’s out on the farm. When he’s really busy, he’ll leave the house at 6am and might not be back until 10pm. I’m always glad to see him come home safely.

“It’s difficult because it does get very busy and sometimes there’s no choice but to work long hours. But I think you just have to think about what you’re doing and take care.

“Animals can be particularly difficult to deal with as they’re unpredictable and can change their behaviour in a second. I always try to help David when he’s working with livestock so there’s someone else there in case he’s knocked to the floor or something else goes wrong.

“Thankfully, he’s very sensible and injuries like the one he suffered on Christmas Eve don’t happen that often.”

David grew up on Yew Tree Farm and took over the business from his dad. It has now been in the family for nearly 50 years but David thinks farming still remains a dangerous profession, with machinery and animals being a particular risk. 

He added: “I’ve lived and worked on the farm all my life so I know what most of the risks are, but every now and then you let your guard down and that’s when accidents can happen. You just have to think about what you’re doing and take your time.

“I think the Health and Safety Executive’s campaign is a good idea as farmers work long hours so it’s important they’re reminded how vital their safety is. It makes sense to have the Promise Knots around the farm as well as it helps to keep you alert.”

Updated: 2011-12-05