Published: 18 July 2016
Author: Stringer Clark
National Farm Safety Week 18-22 July
The message for Australian farmers this week is ‘Safety doesn’t cost, it pays’.
It’s National Farm Safety Week, a time to raise awareness of farm safety issues in rural communities across Australia.
The theme for Farm Safety Week 2016 is “Safe Farms = Profit”, and focuses on the practical issues that farmers can take to improve safety for themselves, their workers, family members and farm visitors. This in turn leads to better productivity and improved returns for the farm business.
The misuse of tractors, quad bikes, chain and bench saws, harvesters, generators and earth-moving equipment are all typical causes of farming deaths and injuries.
We first-hand the impact of these types of farm injuries on individuals and families, both in our roles as lawyers dealing with farm injury cases and also as locals in our communities, where many of us grew up on farms and have friends and family who are farmers.
This year’s Farm Safety Week comes after a horror start to farm safety in Victoria, with seven deaths on Victorian farms this year – six of those caused by quad bikes accidents, including the recent death last month on a Colac dairy farm.
According to WorkSafe, 30% of workplace deaths in Victoria occur on farms. Yet only 3% of Victorians work on farms, which makes this statistic even more worrying.
Farmsafe Australia recommends these practical steps for improving farm safety:
- Having a safety plan in place that identifies potential hazards and taking specific actions to fix these. Always be on the look‐out for new hazards and fixing these as soon as possible once identified.
- Setting clear safety procedures for risky work.
- Making sure everyone that works on the farm understands and uses the safety procedures you have for your farm.
- Having an emergency plan in place in case there are any incidents.
If you’re employed on a farm, that farm is your workplace and you’re covered for injuries under WorkCover. Farmers injured on a tractor accident are also entitled to help from the TAC.
Read more about WorkCover compensation for farm injuries, including information about important steps to take if you’re injured on a farm.
Rise in farming fatalities raises injury concerns: http://stringerclark.com.au/legal-blog/2016/rise-in-farming-fatalities-raises-injury-concerns
New research to address farm injuries: http://stringerclark.com.au/legal-blog/2016/new-research-to-address-farm-injuries
30% of Workplace deaths occur on farms: http://stringerclark.com.au/legal-blog/2016/thirty-percent-of-workplace-deaths-occur-on-farms