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This week, and every week, stay safe on Australian farms

19 July 2013

As National Farm Safety Week draws to a close, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is urging all Australian farmers, farm workers and farm families to stay safe on their properties year round.

“To a farmer, a farm is both his home and his livelihood, which makes farms very unique workplaces,” National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President Duncan Fraser said. “Most farmers not only work on their farms, but also live on them along with their families, and in some cases, along with their farm workers and their families too.

“Most farms contain some pretty serious machinery, everything from major pieces of equipment like tractors and harvesters, to small but dangerous tools, like welders and angle grinders.

“Add in farm animals and chemicals, farm infrastructure like dams and channels, long working hours and hard physical labour, the stresses of running a business and the outdoor nature of farming, and farms can be quite dangerous places.

“That’s why there are workplace health and safety laws in place – to protect our farmers, their workers and their families from injuries and risks on their farms.

“But sadly, injuries continue to happen. According to Safe Work Australia, over the eight years from July 2003 to June 2011, 356 workers died while working on a farming property, with incidents involving vehicles – tractors, aircraft, light vehicles and quad bikes – accounting for 71 percent of these fatalities.

“This is a significant reduction in farm fatalities over the last 20 years, but still, each death is an absolute tragedy. Organisations like Farmsafe Australia and Safe Work Australia are doing a huge amount of work to try and improve safety on farms, but there are also practical things that farmers can do on their farms to stay safe.

“Farmsafe Australia has outlined a list of things farmers can do to improve safety, including:
- having a safety plan in place to identify potential hazards and take specific action to fix them;
- always being on the lookout for new hazards and addressing them as soon as possible;
- setting clear safety procedures for risky work (including always wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment), and making sure everyone that works on the farm understands and uses them;
- having an emergency plan in place in case there are any incidents.

“It’s not about adding an extra burden or extra cost to farm businesses; it’s about keeping our farmers safe – this week and every week,” Mr Fraser said.

Today is the last day of National Farm Safety Week, an initiative of Farmsafe Australia and proudly supported by the NFF. For more, visit the Farmsafe Australia website.

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