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Make farm safety part of the conversation

23 July 2014

As National Farm Safety Week gets underway, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is encouraging Australian farmers, farm workers and farm families to make safety part of the everyday conversation.

NFF Workforce Productivity Committee Chair, Charles Armstrong, said this year’s theme of National Farm Safety Week is ‘Safe farms – healthy farmers’. The awareness week promotes practical steps that farmers can take to improve the safety and wellbeing of all people on Australian farms.

“Farms are not typical workplaces—they are also our homes. This makes keeping family and friends safe all the more important,” said Mr Armstrong.

“There are many potential dangers on farms, whether this be tractors, quad bikes, livestock, farm chemicals, dams, physical work over long hours, or sometimes, just the stress of running a business and keeping it afloat.

“In recent years, the number of farm fatalities has fallen from a yearly average of 146 to 59 in 2013. But that is still 59 too many, particularly when you consider that approximately one in five of these are children.

“That’s why we need to talk about farm safety, not just because work health and safety laws say so, but because it makes a real difference in keeping our people on farms safe, healthy and productive.

“We can all play a role in reducing on-farm risks. There are simple things that we can do in our everyday farm activities, to protect our families, our farm workers and our farm visitors.

“Ensure farm safety is part of your conversation—this week and every week,” said Mr Armstrong.

Organisations like Farmsafe Australia have developed fact sheets with practical rules to keep farms safe and farmers healthy. Here are some of their key tips:

• Two wheeler bikes are safer than quads
• Quads should have a crush protection device fitted and regular safety / brake pressure checks
• Lead by example: always wear helmets on bikes and horses.
• Keep kids off quads and out of ute trays
• Don’t carry passengers on any farm machinery
• Don’t leave keys in cars, bikes or tractors
• Always wear seatbelts
• Have a secure safe play area for kids under 5
• Actively supervise kids around the farm – especially around water or work areas. Don’t leave them alone with livestock.

Farmsafe Australia has also launched a free Safety Induction Smartphone App. This application allows farm workers to work through the induction process with their farm manager. This is then emailed to the farmer and the worker as a safety record of the induction and what was covered.

National Farm Safety Week, an initiative of Farmsafe Australia, is proudly supported by the NFF. Recognising the importance of healthy farmers, the NFF also recently secured funding to support the National Centre for Farmer Health, which aims to improve health, wellbeing and safety for farmers and farm workers. For more, visit the Farmsafe Australia website or contact the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety on (02) 6752 8210 or the National Centre for Farmer Health website.

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Media Enquiries: NFF Media (0408 448 250, 02 6269 5666)

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