Simon Craig's new quest for better on-farm safety

Simon Craig's new quest for better on-farm safety

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SUPPORT: Kooloonong sheep and grain farmer Simon Craig is adding his voice to WorkSafe's 'It's never you, until it is' campaign.

SUPPORT: Kooloonong sheep and grain farmer Simon Craig is adding his voice to WorkSafe's 'It's never you, until it is' campaign.

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How using technology can make your farm safer.

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Victorian farmers are being encouraged to adopt more workplace safety measures in order to reduce the number of incidents occurring on rural properties.

Kooloonong sheep and grain farmer Simon Craig has been working to reduce workplace incidents on his wife's family's 40-year-old farm.

Hailing from Geelong, Mr Craig has been working in the industry in various roles for more than 16 years, starting with an agricultural science degree.

He joined his wife's family farm in 2016 in order to help his father-in-law, Roger McQueen, run the day-to-day operations.

"I really loved the idea of being involved in a farm but because I wasn't off a farm, I never thought I could be on a farm," he said.

The farm is a mixed sheep and cropping enterprise.

Mr Craig has also become an advocate in farm safety, with a desire to change a culture that he believed was generational and dismissive of workplace safety.

After completing his degree, he worked for the Birchip Cropping Group for 10 years, which was where he first began to notice that farm safety wasn't up to scratch.

"Working as a private company is where you must take those ownerships and I just saw that farm safety had a lot of risks associated with it," he said.

"There's a lot of fatigue involved [in farming], a lot of handling of chemicals and dusty environments so there's a challenge there."

According to Work Safe Australia, between 2005 and 2014 an average of 41 workers were killed on a farm each year.

They also report that 85 per cent of farm-related fatalities occurred onsite and that 75pc of these deaths involved a vehicle.

This is why Mr Craig, with the aid of his workers, began to implement safety strategies across his farm in order to minimise potential risks.

"My biggest challenge is our staff and making sure they have the right culture," he said.

"We're trying to get them to look positively at it and not see that the changes we're putting in place are a restriction.

"It's been a fun way for them [to get involved], and as soon as they get excited about using it and see that it's just a normal part of the day, they are going to be thinking more consciously about safety."

Mr Craig recently got involved with WorkSafe and the Victoria Farmers Federation to promote farm safety and is now part of WorkSafe's 'It's never you, until it is' campaign, which endorses the use of efficient and successful farm safety practices.

Through this initiative he has implemented the use of an app his workers can use to highlight potential risks through QR codes.

Mr Craig hopes that through the campaign he can alter attitudes towards farm safety and is now working towards getting more farmers involved.

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