Hello all. This week is a week when the work health and safety focus turns to our rural communities through Farm Safety Week (16th July – 21 July). Farm Safety Week is intended to raise awareness of farm safety issues in across Australia, and encourage stakeholders to consider ways of improving farm safety. Promoted by Farm Safe Australia Inc, this year's Farm Safety Week theme is “Farm Safety - Fix It for Everyone”.
The theme highlights the importance of business and industry working together to improve the well-being of Australian farmers through improved attention to health and safety.
Farm safety is an important issue as the agricultural sector has high levels of work safety incidents, often tragically involving family members and children. The National Farm Safety Week Media Package (available on the Farm Safe Australia Inc website: www.farmsafe.org.au) advises that nationally about 20% of on‐farm injury fatalities are to children under 15 years of age. There are many more seriously injured every year, sometimes with lifelong injuries. By far the biggest risk is drowning, especially for children younger than 5 years of age. Other major issues include quad bikes, machinery and vehicles.
It isn’t all bad news though, with Farm Safe Australian Inc reporting that there has been a significant reduction in farm fatalities over the last 20 years from a yearly average of 146 deaths to approximately 60 in 2011 (subject to final verification based on coronial data).
The National Farm Safety Week Media Package informs us that over the past 20 years we have seen a drop of almost 60% in the number of on‐farm injury deaths from an average of 146 to below 60 per year in 2011.
I encourage all of our members involved in or interested in rural work health and safety, to engage with Farm Safety Week. Contact your local regulator for any events of information sessions they may be holding in support of Farm Safety Week. Also check out our article on Quad Watch in this week’s Round-up for information on an initiative regarding quad bike safety.