October is Health and Safety Month across Australia. It is time for all Victorian farmers to stop, take a moment, and review activities on their farm.
Since January last year there have been over 30 people killed on Victorian farms. It is time we take stock. Simple actions can protect and save lives. Farmers can take a range of measures to prevent serious and possibly fatal accidents including:
- Identify areas on your property where it is unsafe to take farm machinery due to risk of rollover. You might need to define areas where different types of machinery should not be used or consider speed restrictions.
- Never start a tractor from the ground or get off a moving tractor.
- Always ensure that there are no pedestrians in traffic areas or when reversing vehicles.
- Ensure guards are on equipment.
- Never take passengers on quad bikes or on farm machinery unless there is a second seat installed by the manufacturer.
- Set up ‘No Go Zones’ around overhead power lines.
- De-energise all equipment before working on it.
- Only use machinery for its intended purpose.
- Be aware of fatigue - take regular rest breaks, drink plenty of water, eat nourishing food.
- Keep a phone or other means of communication on you so help can be called.
Once all this is done, it would be great to document it so it is available for all on the farm to see. Perhaps even put together a farm safety map identifying high risk areas and appropriate actions. It is also important to note that the Quad Bike Safety Rebate Scheme which was due to expire at the end of September has been extended for another year.