With growers around the country currently loading, carting, unloading and stacking hay to meet hot demand ahead of a long and dry summer, the annual safety day held on 25 October, provides a timely reminder to reflect on safe practices when working and living around hay bales and silage.
FarmSafe Australia reported earlier this year 55 people died from accidents on farms in 2022, and 158 people suffered non-fatal injuries, which AFIA chief executive officer, Paula Fitzgerald, said takes a massive toll on families, communities and workplaces.
"Tractors and quad bikes, vital pieces of farm equipment, have been involved in more than 30 per cent of on farm accident fatalities since 2001," she said.
"As a result, this National Hay Safe Day, working with our safety partner Safe Ag Systems, we have released two new fact sheets focusing on quad bike and tractor safety for fodder producers.
"While legislation has attempted to boost safety features, human error, fatigue, poor mental health and complacency around routine tasks, especially during busy or stressful times, are factors to be considered in staying safe day-to-day on your farm."
In addition to machinery and livestock safety risks on farms, Fitzgerald said the fodder industry has additional hazards, like stacking, unstacking, storing and transporting hay and silage.
"Large square hay bales can weigh up to 650 kilograms, so it's vital to be informed about safely moving, transporting and storing them to prevent falling, rolling and crushing incidences around you, your workers and your family," she said.
"Workplace health and safety doesn't have to be onerous. Safe Ag Systems, our safety partner offers software which covers everything - from training and inductions and identifying major hazards and safe practices to mental health and fatigue management resources."
AFIA has released Fodder Safety Briefs on telehandler safety, traffic management plans and worker training, and safety signage, as part of recent hay safe initiatives.
The new safety resources can be found here.