Safety Alert: Stay Safe on the farm urges WorkSafe

  • Date: 30 May 2016
  • Categories: WH&S

Turfgrowers should be mindful of the dangers inherent in farm machinery and equipment following the tragic deaths of a number of farmers last week; with tractor and quad-bike incidents behind the fatalities.

In a real wake-up call for all farmers, the three deaths in three days in Victoria last week has prompted WorkSafe to issue a reminder to all farmers to make safety a priority.

A 65-year-old man was killed on a property near Merrijig after a quad bike he was driving overturned and crushed him.

A 49-year-old farmer died when he got caught in an air seeder being towed behind his tractor at a farm in the Wimmera and a 61-year-old farmer was fatally injured after being entangled under a feed mixer being towed behind his tractor.

Farming can be a dangerous job and although there is only three percent of the workforce in agriculture, they make up 30 percent of all workplace deaths.

“Farmers owe it to themselves, their families and their friends to make safety a permanent part of their daily life,” said WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams following the tragedies.

Ms. Williams stressed that farming is a high-risk industry and to make safety a priority every day.

“Farmers also 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.

She said farmers should keep in mind that even simple safety measures can make a difference.

“For example, choose the right plant and equipment for the task and make sure all machinery is switched off and disengaged when undertaking maintenance,” said Ms. Williams.

“And ensure machinery is properly secured when undertaking maintenance underneath.”

Thirty percent of all workplace fatalities in Victoria are coming from the agriculture industry.

Three families are now grieving and three Victorian communities will take time to recover from these losses.

These are people simply going about their job, but for whatever reason, something goes wrong.

“And it is not always just a freak accident. Complacency can creep in when a task has been completed many times without incident,” says Ms Williams.

Safety needs to be a priority on every farm, on every day. Look for the risks, assess the risks and find ways to manage or eliminate them.

“Wearing helmets when riding motorbikes, fitting crush protection on quad bikes, installing covers on power take-offs on tractors or double-checking when lifting the tipper on a truck that there are no power lines – whatever it takes to ensure the farm is safe,” reiterated Ms. Williams.

The consequences of avoiding farm safety are deadly.

Farmers are encouraged to check out the latest advice and information when it comes to farm safety and the recently updated publication from Safe Work Australia; General guide for managing the risks of machinery in rural workplaces, contains important references for any farm to consider.  Read more at: http://bit.ly/1Z7nTCM