Farm safety plea

The State Government urged Victorian farmers to be vigilant about their safety practices during National Farm Safety Week, from 21 to 26 July.

Five people, including two children, died in workplace incidents on Victorian farms in the 2018-‘19 financial year.

A 59-year old man died in hospital following an incident that occurred while felling trees on a property at Buxton just days into the new financial year.

“We need farmers talking to each other about farm safety, so we can make sure everyone comes home safe at the end of the day,” Workplace Safety Minister Jill Hennessy said.

“It is so important farmers think about the risks involved in everything they do and have a plan in place, not just for themselves but also for their workers and their family.”

Farm safety is a focus for WorkSafe Victoria, with the watchdog conducting more than 2700 farm inspections in the past financial year.

Incidents involving tractors and other machinery were the leading cause of workplace deaths on Victorian farms in 2018-‘19, prompting renewed calls for farmers to carry out rigorous safety checks and risk assessments.

Farmers were also urged to always ensure they wore seat belts, and to never hop on or off moving machinery.

“We’re working closely with farmers and industry groups to make sure the message of farm safety is a priority,” Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said.

“Nobody is more aware of the risks on farms than farmers themselves, and it’s crucial that they take care and follow safety processes to avoid a tragedy.”

WorkSafe used National Farm Safety Week to educate farmers on the steps they could take to be safe while working alone, like ensuring they had a means of communication or a process for having someone check on them.

The State Government also used National Farm Safety Week to remind farmers about the dangers of quad bikes, as part of a push to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on quad bikes.

Safe Work Australia data showed 15 people died as a result of incidents involving quad bikes nationally last financial year.

A State Government rebate to install roll over protection on quad bikes, or to substitute bikes for more terrain-appropriate vehicles, is available through the Victorian Farmers Federation.


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