Farmers at greater risk of death on the job than any other Victorian workers


A new public awareness campaign backed by alarming WorkSafe statistics that show almost 30 percent of all workplace deaths in Victoria occur on farms is being launched next week.

Considering the Agricultural industry only accounts for 3 percent of all Victorian workers it seems logical that concerns are now being raised. This statistic is even more concerning when you add that 10 farmers each week are injured seriously enough to lodge worker’s compensation claims.

The new campaign will highlight agriculture’s deadly toll and call on farmers to reduce workplace risks by taking a few moments to think about safety before beginning a task or project. Executive Director of Health & Safety for WorkSafe, Marnie Williams states that it’s time farmers make safety a permanent part of their daily routine with a focus on tractors and quad bikes, with this equipment having shown to be involved in a significant number of the fatalities occurring each year.

“Effective planning, using the right equipment, operating machinery safely; these are simple, everyday measures that can change a life in an instant,” Ms Williams said. “It doesn’t take much but it can mean the difference between life and death.”

Making up one of the highest risk groups were experienced farmers doing routine tasks. As Ms Williams points out “Farmers work with a range of heavy machinery and usually work alone and a long way from help if an incident occurs. Financial pressures can also mean that many work long hours or potentially cut corners with maintenance,” Ms Williams said.

By its very nature farming as an occupation has many routines and farmers can become complacent doing the same task day in and day out and as such the consequences can prove deadly.

“Following a fatality, it’s not uncommon for investigators to discover that the tractor wasn’t well maintained, or it was being used for the wrong purpose, or the farmer was doing something he had done a hundred times before, which could suggest a loss of concentration.

“The same applies to quad bikes, which is why WorkSafe last month made a decision to accept
rollover protection devices as a means of controlling the risk to operators in the event of a rollover.”

The new campaign has been developed to instigate discussion within the farming community about the need for all farmers to re-assess their systems of work with safety as their number one priority.

The public awareness campaign will commence on 3 April.

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Insurance House have a dedicated in-house risk management service offering OHS audits, safety systems, policies and procedures reviews specifically for the Agricultural industry. Contact your account broker directly for more information or call 1300 305 834.





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