IT is that time of the year again when farmers across Victoria are busy gearing up for harvest.
While we are busy organising staff for harvest, getting our machinery ready and checking crops, we must ensure time to go over our farm safety procedures and practices.
Long hours, heavy vehicles and high temperatures make harvest a high-risk period for accidents and harvest fires.
Time and time again we've seen avoidable accidents on farms where complacency may have crept into everyday tasks or some have become distracted and have even taken short-cuts to get the job done faster.
It's a sobering fact that almost half of all workplace deaths in Victoria involved some sort of machinery or heavy vehicles, making them the most dangerous hazards in Victorian workplaces and farms one of the leading risk environments for workplace accidents.
While we all want to ensure a safe workplace for our staff, families and ourselves, it is up to us as farmers to ensure we have the safest possible environment for all workers.
It can be overwhelming to know where to begin and that's why I'm urging all farmers to take a step back and ensure our health and safety remains the top priority at all times.
The Victorian Farmer's Federation offers a number of comprehensive, free of charge health and safety services for all Victorian farmers which can be accessed by calling the VFF on 1300 882 833.
We all know that living and working on a farm is one of the most rewarding, challenging, varied and toughest jobs that people can choose to do.
We all want to get the job done as quick as possible but this must not be done at the expense of the safety of your employees, families and yourself - safety is and always must be our highest priority.