Like all workplaces, Australian farms are embracing technological change for productivity, but technology also affords opportunities for a culture of safety.
This year, Farmsafe Australia has adopted the theme of ‘Innovation, Safe and Healthy’ to encourage farmers to look to new ways of adopting safe work practices.
Farmsafe Australia chair Charles Armstrong said this could include “digitised safety inductions using QR codes, to design improvements that make farm vehicles safer to operate, to personal locator beacons that sends a safety alert where something goes wrong in areas with no mobile reception… Having safety as a major aspect of our business will not only reduce risks to those who work and live on our farms, it will also improve our bottom line. Safe farms are profitable farms.”
In 2017 there were 68 deaths on Australian farms, up from 63 in 2016. Nine of these deaths were children under 15. Quad bikes are the leading cause while farm infrastructure such as water tanks and farm vehicles such as trucks and tractors were also causes.
“Quads are a disturbing feature affecting children and we are pleading with parents to ensure that children under 16 years don’t ride or be carried as passengers on quads of any size,” Mr Armstrong said.
Farmsafe Australia has a free, web-based induction tool that can be used with all smartphones and free Farm Safety Plans can be accessed through its website.
“We want farming to be both profitable and safe, and we can do this if safety is promoted as a core value for your business,” he said.