Stock & Land

Stepping it up for chemical safety on farms

Farm Safety Advisors at the VFF Making Our Farms Safer Project, John Darcy, left and, Richard Versteegen, right. Access the guide at www.makingourfarmssafer.org.au

This is branded content for Victorian Farmers Federation.

A new resource created by the Victorian Farmers Federation Making Our Farms Safer Project will help Victorian farmers to manage the risks of dangerous chemicals on their farms.

The Victorian Farmers Federation Making Our Farms Safer project teamed up with Agplus Multi Consulting, ChemClear and drumMUSTER in production of The Hazardous Chemical Handling and Storage Guide.

The Hazardous Chemical Handling and Storage Guide is part of the Making Our Farms Safer project, funded by the Victorian Government to provide all Victorian farmers with support and resources to improve health and safety on farms.

Senior Farm Safety Advisor, at the VFF Making Our Farms Safer Project, John Darcy, said the new guidance fills a hole in the state of knowledge for Victorian farmers on what constitutes good practice for chemical handling on farms.

"A worker recently sustained serious chemical burns on a farm in the Goulburn Valley when they were involved in mixing two incompatible substances.

"The incident is one of many that occur on Victorian farms with workers sustaining serious burns, severe skin irritations and eye damage," Mr Darcy said.

The new guidance will assist farmers to understand how to reduce the risks of such incidents occurring in the future.

The guidance was crafted through extensive engagement with farmers to ensure that it meets their needs.

Correct use of PPE when handling chemicals: The guide fills in knowledge for Victorian farmers on what is good practice for chemical handling on farms.

"There is not much point in handing a farmer a ninety-page Code of Practice on chemical safety that they would never read, or to point them to a webpage with limited information.

"We created the handbook because we could see a clear need and because farmers were asking us for it," VFF Farm Safety Advisor, Richard Versteegen said.

Chemical safety is one of the most challenging safety issues for farmers to tackle with questions often asked about sheds, bunding, ventilation and safety data sheets. All of these issues are addressed in the handbook.

The Hazardous Chemical Handling and Storage Guide forms one part of a library of farm safety resources on the VFF Making Our Farms Safer website available for free download.

The resources act as a toolkit to compliment the Farm Safety advisory services as offered by the project.

"The Making Our Farm Safer project acts as an education and information support service for farmers, offering a variety of assistance through on-farm safety consults, farm safety walk and talks for groups, and community education at Farm Safety Briefings," Farm Safety Advisor Mr Versteegen explained.

Mr Versteegen continued: "We are not a regulatory body; we are here to work with farmers to educate, inform and support on safety matters relevant to their workplaces.

"We are a confidential service, and our project provides free assistance to all farmers in Victoria."

The Hazardous Chemical Handling and Storage Guide can be accessed via the VFF Making Our Farms Safer project website at www.makingourfarmssafer.org.au

Bookings to arrange for a farm safety advisor to visit to your farm, or to book a group farm safety walk and talk can also be made via the website.

The MOFS project is funded by the Victorian Government through the Growing Victoria's Agriculture election commitment and the Smarter Safer Farms program.