Farm safety equals profit


National Farm Safety Week is on from 18-22 July and aims to raise awareness of farm safety issues in rural communities across Australia. Sources: AFDJ eNews, ABC Rural

This year’s theme is “Safe Farms = Profit”, and seeks to focus 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 ‐ “Safety doesn’t cost it pays”.

Over the last 20 years there has been a significant reduction in farm fatalities from a yearly average of 146 deaths to 73 in 2015.

In 2015, farm machinery, quads and tractors were the leading causes of non‐intentional farm injury death, accounting for 50% of all cases.

This year alone to June 30 we have already seen 30 tragic deaths on‐farm, with machinery (n=8), tractors (n=4) and quads (n=3) featuring (there were also three off‐farm fatal incidents).

Between 2001 and 2015, there have been more than 225 quad deaths. In 2015 alone, there were 22 fatal incidents with at least 15 occurring on‐farm. To date in 2016, we have seen three deaths on‐farm and a further three off‐farm.

A survey is seeking to find the answer to quad bike deaths using responses from anyone in Australia who has ever had an accident on a quad bike, and their experience of rollover bars if installed.

“We need to know what type of quad bike crashes they’ve had, and what

injuries they’ve had,” Mr Simmons said. “We need to get information from people who have never had an operator protection device, and those who had one fitted, and we’ll be able to compare the crashes, their type and severity of injury.

“We hope to determine once and for all whether OPDs do protect the operator.”

The survey is open for two months, until the end of August, at

Researchers hope to deliver their findings to the sponsor of the survey, SafeWork NSW by early 2017.

Practical steps that farmers can take to have safety as a core value include:

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.