Rise in farm deaths causing concern

Monday, 17 July, 2017

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Fatalities on farms are increasing, with Victorian farmers being urged to prioritise safety.

In the past six months eight people have died in workplace incidents on farms, a figure which already equals the total number of farm deaths across in state in 2016.

WorkSafe Victoria is urging farmers to take particular care ahead of National Farm Safety Week this month.

“Agriculture is a high-risk industry, but that should never mean fatalities and injuries are accepted as part of the job,” said WorkSafe’s executive director of health and safety, Marnie Williams.

“However, it makes it essential that that the risks involved in every task must be planned for and the work carried out accordingly.”

Research shows that the majority of farm fatalities affected experienced farmers doing activities they had done many times before.

Of the eight farm-related fatalities so far this year:

  • Tractors have been involved in four deaths
  • Seven fatalities have involved workers aged over 40
  • The oldest person was 68 and the youngest was 38

“Farmers should never think that experience will prevent accidents,” Williams said.

“As we see year after year, it’s often experienced farmers doing everyday tasks that fail to come home at the end of the day.

“That is why it is critical to take a few moments before the day gets underway to think about how to do each and every job safely. Any measure that could help prevent tragedy is worth it.”

Safety tips for those working on farms:

  • Plan each task with safety in mind
  • Use the right equipment for the task
  • Let someone know where you will be working and stay in touch throughout the day
  • Ensure all machinery is switched off and disengaged before undertaking any maintenance

For more advice on farm safety, go to WorkSafe.vic.gov.au.

Image credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Alina Pavlova

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