“Any life lost due to a farming accident is one too many.”
That’s the call from Victorian Farmers Federation President David Jochinke at the start of Farm Safety Week, which aims to remind 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 recorded 20 workplace deaths on Australian farms in the period from January 2017 to June 2017.
Mr Jochinke said 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.”
Worksafe Victoria statistics show nearly 30 per cent of workplace deaths across the State occur on farms, despite three per cent of workers being employed in the agriculture industry.
Mr Jochinke said it was vital for all farmers 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 then better manage your obligations,” Mr Jochinke said.
“Remember, farm safety is something that affects everyone. We all need to do our part to ensure we maintain a safe environment not just for ourselves, but for those around us.”
The VFF will soon employ a Farm Safety Officer as part of its zero fatality target, who will deliver practical training to members about farm safety, health and wellbeing.