The latest farm safety data has revealed 19 Australian farmers have lost their lives in the first six months of 2023. According to the Safer Farms agricultural fatality and injury report, 77 people suffered non-fatal injuries due to accidents on farms.
Farmsafe Australia has kicked off 'National Farm Safety" week revealing agriculture again ranking as the most dangerous industry to work in; 55 farmers lost their lives in 2022 with tractors accounting for 20 per cent of these fatalities and quad bikes accounting for another 14pc.
This year's Farm Safety Week campaign, 'Stay on the Safe Side,' focuses on tractor, vehicle and machinery safety, in an effort to raise awareness of the alarming injury and fatality statistics attributed to these agents, and reinforce important safety messaging to help farmers create a safer working environment.
The underlying message of the campaign is that farmers and farm workers need to take ownership of their own safety by recognising that safety is a choice they make every day.
Farmsafe Australia chair, Felicity Richards, is a farmer herself and knows firsthand the importance of making safe decisions.
"Every time a farmer tackles a job on the farm, no matter how big or small, or how many times they've performed that job, they make decisions. They can choose to do it safely or they can choose to take unnecessary risks," Ms Richards said.
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"That choice is influenced by how much time, money or labour they have at their disposal. By emphasising that safety is a choice, our hope is that farmers choose to stay on the safe side and protect themselves, their families, their workers and ultimately, their farms."
Ms Richards claims most long-time farmers are aware of the risks on their farm, but they tend to become complacent, or take shortcuts to get jobs done quickly.
"Complacency is a silent adversary that poses a real threat to older farmers. When we become comfortable with or indifferent to risks and hazards, we expose ourselves to danger. Farming demands constant vigilance and a firm commitment to safety," Ms Richards said.
"We must remain proactive, continuously assessing and addressing risks. By challenging complacency, we fortify ourselves against incidents, protecting lives and ensuring the sustainable success of our agricultural workforce."
Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said the report was a reminder that complacency was not an option.
"The agriculture sector only represents a small proportion of our workforce, but farmers and farm workers are frighteningly overrepresented in workplace injuries and deaths," Mr Watt said.
"Every year the Farmsafe safer farms report is a timely reminder of the risks and dangers of life on the land, and no one can afford to be complacent."
"While tragically, children are represented in these statistics, we see a lot of older, experienced farmers who are injured or killed on the job. I want to see a future where accidents and deaths on farms go down to zero, and I thank Farmsafe for the work they do on this."
"This national farm safety week let's encourage each other to 'stay on the safe side'."
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