It’s National Farm Safety Week and the Victorian Farmers Federation is reminding primary producers of the importance of maintaining secure workplace practices.
The farmer group is pushing the agriculture industry to double its efforts in achieving a zero fatality target on farm.
SafeWork Australia statistics show there were 20 work-related fatalities on Australian farms in the period from January to June, and according to Victorian Farmers Federation President David Jochinke, the number of deaths caused by accidents should be addressed.
“This is plainly unacceptable and the whole industry needs to get serious about implementing a zero fatality target,” Mr. Jochinke said.
“All it takes is a few minutes to check that equipment is safe to use, or that best practice methods are being followed.
Figures from WorkSafe Victoria show that despite the agriculture industry only employing a mere three percent of workers in the state, nearly 30 percent of workplace fatalities occur on farms.
Mr. Jochinke said it was important for all farm workers to prepare themselves for potential emergencies.
“We need to constantly remind ourselves that if we’re not careful, we will get hurt. You need to keep a well-stocked first aid kit wherever you’re working and if you work alone, make a plan on how you will seek help in an emergency,” he said.
“It’s also vital to consider safe working conditions when children are involved. I joined my dad on the farm and most farmers teach their children the ropes of running the family business. But children on farms are high-risk. We need to show our children what a safe farm looks like.”
The VFF has been using a series of forums to connect with its membership about the importance of farm safety and has also compiled a list of seven tips to guide farmers in keeping a safe workplace.
“We want to engage with farmers to raise awareness for safety procedures so that you can them better manage your obligations,” Mr. Jochinke said.
“Remember, farm safety is something that affects everyone. We all need to our part to ensure we maintain a safe environment not just for ourselves, but for those around us.”
As part of its zero fatality target, the farmer group is planning to employ a Farm Safety Officer who will deliver practical training to members about farm safety, health, and wellbeing.