News

Farm safety officers to protect Victorians

By Jamie Salter

Farm safety officers are the latest step towards preventing farm injuries and deaths in Victoria.

The Victorian Government will provide the VFF with a $3 million Making our Farms Safer grant to employ two farm safety officers and deliver new resources.

As part of a four-year program, the farm safety officers will develop an online platform with a range of resources to help farmers adopt better farm safety and health practices.

A program involving on-farm visits to advise farmers of the risks and changes that can be made to improve safety is being developed.

VFF president David Jochinke said the health and safety of everyone on farms was the priority.

“Safety on farms is paramount, because it concerns the wellbeing of our workers, families and ourselves,” Mr Jochinke said.

“The agricultural sector is one of the most dangerous workplaces in Victoria, not just for farmers, but everyone present on the farm.”

“As a father, there can be no bigger priority in a parent’s life than the health and wellbeing of your child.

“It’s incredibly tragic that children under the age of 15 make up more than 15 per cent of preventable death and injuries on farms.”

On average, there are about two serious injuries on Victorian farms every day and in the past five months, six people have died while working on a farm.

Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said workplace deaths were devastating and needless.

“That’s why we’re working with industry to reach as many people as possible and change the attitudes around farm workplace safety,” Ms Symes said.

“We want our farms to be safe places for those who live, work or visit them.

“The work that the VFF will carry out with this grant will make a difference in achieving this for all Victorian farms.”

Quad bikes were the most common form of farm fatalities this year and have been the most common form of injury for more than a decade.

Statistics from the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit reveal that 388 Victorian children under 14 years old were treated in hospital in 2018-19 because of a farm-related injury — about seven per week.

To contact the safety officers for advice, email: wr@vff.org.au