Number of farm deaths is unacceptable

Number of farm deaths is unacceptable


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OPINION | Farmers need to be constantly reminded of the reality that if we are careless, we get hurt.

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Next week is Farm Safety Week, so it’s a timely reminder that maintaining a safe workplace is something that we can all do to protect our families and employees.

Almost 30 per cent of workplace deaths in Victoria take place on farms.

This is despite only three per cent of all workers being employed in the agriculture industry.

It’s a fact that often goes unrecognised, and farmers need to be constantly reminded of the reality that if we are careless, we get hurt.

The problem is so severe that 10 farmers every week are injured seriously enough to make a worker’s compensation claim.

Statutory body SafeWork Australia has already recorded 20 deaths on Australian farms this year.

This is plainly unacceptable and the whole industry needs to get serious about implementing a zero fatality target.

All it takes is a few minutes to check that equipment is safe to use, or that best practice methods are being followed.

We need to be prepared in the event of an emergency.

It’s also important for all farm sheds, machinery and vehicles to have a well-stocked first-aid kit.

If you work alone, you should make a plan on how you will get help in the event of an emergency.

And it’s also vital to consider safe working conditions when there are children are involved.

I joined my dad on the farm and most farmers teach their children the ropes of running the family business.

But having children on farms is high-risk. We need to show our children what a safe farm looks like.

The Victorian Farmers Federation is taking a proactive approach to farm safety because we care about the wellbeing of our primary producers.

We want to make sure you have the best information to run a safe work place.

We want to engage with farmers to raise awareness for safety procedures so that you can then better manage your obligations.

Remember, farm safety is something that affects everyone.

We all need to our part to ensure we maintain a safe environment.

Not just for ourselves, but for those around us.

David Jochinke, Victorian Farmers Federation president

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