Farms are an integral part of the Australian way of life. Over 60% of the entire country is devoted to farms of some sort, and through them, we are a massive contributor to the world’s food basket. However, farms are also one of the biggest sources of injury or worse.
This is what Farm Safety Week is all about. The not-for-profit organisation unites like-minded parties who care about promoting a safe farming environment for anyone who works, plays or grows up in and around farms. It‘s the 20th year of Farm Safety Week, being held in 2018 from July 16 to 22.
This year’s theme is “Innovative, Safe and Healthy”. It focuses on how business and farmers can work together to find ways to bring safety to the forefront of people’s minds not just during Farm Safety Week but all year round.
Keeping kids safe on farms is of paramount importance. Obviously, dangerous farming equipment like combine harvesters or chainsaws are not to be trifled with, but there’s a lot of other dangers ever-present. A large part of this year’s Farm Safety Week campaign is discouraging kids from using Quad Bikes, which are as dangerous as they can be fun even for full-sized adults.
Additionally, farm owners are strongly encouraged to closely monitor children near dams and creeks which are especially deadly and are the number one source of farm-related fatalities. While the numbers of child drownings have decreased since the ‘90s, there is still a lot of work to do in this area. Reliable fences are a safety necessity and have shown to have a dramatic impact on child safety, so take time to ensure ones that keep kids in safe play areas are well maintained. Whatever you can do to make dangerous areas less inviting or accessible will be a good step.
The Ripper II initiative is designed to help rural schools teach kids safety fundamentals and advice to children and has been running for over ten years. Any school can apply to take advantage of the program or can download the materials for free online through the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety website.
For adults, Farmsafe has introduced an interactive online tool to help evaluate what safety concerns could be present on your farm. The Farmsafe Induction Tool offers an easy and intuitive step-by-step guide for farm owners or contractors to re-examine their farm and highlight potential dangers. It even offers the ability for owners to modify the induction guide to suit the particular needs of their staff or land, with custom areas for local emergency assistance phone numbers for example.
Rounding out the initiative during Farm Safety Week is an advertising campaign on rural radio, local television and online, ensuring that the message of farm safety is heard far and wide.
The Farm Safe website has more resources to encourage farm safety, including safety tips for older or disabled farmers, or those who are working around specialised equipment such as hydraulics or tractors.
The Drake Group takes safety seriously in every part of making our range of heavy haulage trailers that help move stock from farms all around the country. A great example of this is the AG Widener, which is designed primarily for moving farm equipment remotely for increased driver awareness and safety. Contact The Drake Group to find out more about our safe and reliable range of trailers.