Victorian six-week campaign puts farm safety in the spotlight

Thursday, 04 March, 2021

Victorian six-week campaign puts farm safety in the spotlight

A six-week WorkSafe Victoria safety campaign has been launched to highlight that farm deaths and life-changing injuries can happen to anyone who doesn’t prioritise safety. The campaign has been launched across regional television, print, radio, digital and social media channels. The campaign’s key message — “it’s never you, until it is” — aims to challenge a common mindset among farmers and agriculture workers that a serious incident won’t happen to them. Emotional storytelling will target owner-operator farmers, their workers and families, bringing home the cost of not taking a safety-first approach.

Agriculture remains one of Victoria’s most dangerous industries, with 24 people dying as a result of on-farm workplace incidents in the past three years. In 2020, 424 people working in agriculture, or about eight people a week, were injured seriously enough to make a workers compensation claim. The campaign is part of a wider push to shift attitudes around farm safety under WorkSafe Victoria’s Agriculture Strategy 2020–23. The strategy outlines how WorkSafe Victoria will engage with the industry to drive change and encourage a mindset that farm workplace deaths are preventable, not inevitable.

WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said the campaign will show that experience alone does not prevent workplace incidents on farms, adding that farmers owe it to themselves, their families, their workers and communities to always keep safety front of mind and make it a permanent part of their daily life. “Farmers know their land and machinery like the back of their hand, but that doesn't make you bulletproof. It might be easy to think that a tragic incident will never happen on your farm, but if safety is not your top priority then the chances are high that it will,” said Nielsen.

The campaign focuses on high-risk hazards such as machinery, livestock and chemicals and will collaborate with industry to improve the safety of vulnerable employees, including migrant and seasonal workers. The campaign also includes collaborative education programs, new guidance, and targeted compliance and enforcement activities.

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