• Date: 04 Apr 2016
  • Categories: WH&S

LSA Safety Alert 13-2016: FARMS URGED TO PRIORITISE SAFETY – Farmers are more prone to workplace death & injury than any other workers in Australia according to the latest figures from WorkSafe that has prompted a new Farm Safety awareness campaign– Read more at www.wp.me/p74DQl-60

Farmers are more likely to die than any other workers in Australia. This is according to recent figures from WorkSafe showing that almost 30 percent of all workplace deaths in the state occurs on farms.

This is despite the fact that the agriculture industry only employs 3 percent of Victorian workers. Moreover, ten farmers are injured every week seriously enough to make a worker’s compensation claim.

These alarming statistics prompted WorkSafe Victoria to start a new public awareness campaign starting on April 3. The new campaign will highlight the sector’s deadly toll and urge farmers to reduce workplace risks by thinking about safety before beginning a task or project.

“Effective planning, using the right equipment, operating machinery safely; these are simple, everyday measures that can change a life in an instant,” said WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams.

Ms. Williams said that in all farm fatalities in recent years, experienced farmers doing routine tasks were most at risk.

“Farmers work with a range of heavy machinery and usually work alone and a long way from help if an incident occurs. Financial pressures can also mean that many work long hours or potentially cut corners with maintenance,” she said.

“Farming has many routines and farmers often need to do the same task the same way, day-in, day-out. But, over time, complacency can creep in and that can prove deadly.”

Ms Williams said tractors and quad bikes in particular, are involved in a significant number of fatalities each year.

“Following a fatality, it’s not uncommon for investigators to discover that the tractor wasn’t well maintained, or it was being used for the wrong purpose, or the farmer was doing something he had done a hundred times before, which could suggest a loss of concentration,” she said.

“The same applies to quad bikes, which is why WorkSafe last month made a decision to accept rollover protection devices as a means of controlling the risk to operators in the event of a rollover.”

She said the new campaign was designed to encourage people in the farming community to about the need for all farmers to re-assess their systems of work with safety as a number one priority.

“While WorkSafe continues to promote the importance of safety to farming communities through education campaigns, promotional work at field days, and on farm inspections, it is up to every farming family to make safety the most important part of their daily lives,” said Ms Williams.

“With the help of the farming community, we hope this campaign will change the current story of death and injury that remains such a dark cloud over Victoria’s renowned agricultural sector.”

See further information . . . http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/safety-and-prevention/your-industry/farming