Farm accidents and health issues cost the Australian agriculture industry billions of dollars in lost productivity each year. FarmSafe estimates that between 2008-09 and 2012-13, injuries on farms resulted in over 270,000 weeks of work lost.
During National Farm Safety Week, I will be taking the time to invest in the health and safety of my employees and myself. I encourage all farmers to do the same.
For a free farm safety walk on your farm, get a group of farmers together and call the Victorian Farmers Federation Farm Safety Extension Officer (0499 772 472).
Near the top of every safety checklist should be proper chemical management. Do a thorough stocktake of your chemicals, and ensure everything is stored and used according to the safety data sheet. Then, give ChemClear a call to safely remove old or unused chemicals from your farm.
Providing farm inductions for all new staff is another simple step you can take. On an ongoing basis, regular Toolbox chats with staff before work gives you time to discuss changes to farm conditions, and gives your employees an opportunity to raise concerns.
Farmers are more likely than the average person to be hospitalised for preventable diseases. You wouldn’t accept this for your family, so don’t accept it for yourself. Book in a check-up with your doctor now. Regular check-ups help with early detection of illnesses and reduction of recovery times, so you can get back to work quicker.
We cannot afford to have farm safety as an afterthought in our businesses. Valuing health and safety on the farm is valuing the long-term productivity of your business.