Farm Safety Week brings timely reminder

THIS week is national Farm Safety Week which is an opportunity to reinforce key safety messages for those living and working on the land.
Farm Safety Week brings timely reminder  Farm Safety Week brings timely reminder  Farm Safety Week brings timely reminder  Farm Safety Week brings timely reminder  Farm Safety Week brings timely reminder

Farm Safety Week is a reminder to take care on farms. Picture Mark Saunders

Staff writer

Farmsafe Australia says paying attention and being aware of risks are vital aspects of providing a safe farm.

Awareness of risk is a critical factor, if not the most important factor, Farmsafe Australia says, in safety messaging with regard to any danger on farm.

"Farmers and farm employees generally know the risks associated with the tasks that they perform day to day, however a combination of familiarity, complacency, fatigue, stress et cetera, can be the difference between business as usual and tragedy on farm" says Charles Armstrong, chair of Farmsafe Australia.

"That is why the importance of on farm inductions, site specific risk assessments with follow up mitigation techniques and daily toolbox talks cannot be stressed enough. Inductions ensure that anyone new to the farm is familiar with the safety risks on farm and has basic information on how to avoid those risks."

But what is risk awareness? It is simply the acknowledgement that a risk, or a combination of risks, are involved in an activity that is to be performed.

Site specific risk assessments and mitigation techniques ensure that farmers have considered all possible sources of danger and have put controls in place to minimise or eliminate those risks. Regular toolbox talks open up the lines of communication for all employees to be aware of new or existing issues.

"Unfortunately, the other factor that prevents the risk assessment method from being as effective as it should be is often the risk culture that is associated with farming," Armstrong said.

"Risk culture is the social acceptance of the processes surrounding the identification, communication and management of risk. In farming, risk culture often sounds like ‘she'll be right, mate, I'm only driving at slow speeds on the quad, so I don't need a helmet or I've done it this way longer than you've been walking'.

"Driving cultural change towards best practice safety approaches is not always popular as it forces each and every one of us to look in the mirror and face the facts that every day, we make choices, or deflect the responsibility of making choices, that could severely injure or even kill ourselves or those we care about," he said.

For more details on farm safety and how to improve it, visit: www.farmsafe.org.au

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