Farms can be an idyllic though demanding place to live and work, but they can also be dangerous.
Victorian farmers have been urged to make safety a critical part of their daily routine after eight people died in workplace incidents on farms across the state during the first six months of the year.
Countless other injuries were recorded, some of which will change the person’s life forever.
Today marks the start of Farm Safety Week and authorities have challenged farmers and farm workers to look around their properties and identify and remedy any safety risks instead of just keeping them in mind.
Of the eight farm-related fatalities so far this year, tractors were involved in four deaths.
Those eight deaths equal the total number of farmers and workers killed on Victorian farms for the whole of last year, and account for more than half of the 15 workplace deaths that have occurred in Victoria this year.
“Agriculture is a high-risk industry but that should never mean fatalities and injuries are accepted as part of the job,” said WorkSafe executive director of health and safety Marnie Williams.
“Farmers should never think that experience will prevent accidents. As we see year after year, it’s often experienced farmers doing everyday tasks that fail to come home.
“That is why it is critical to take a few moments before the day gets underway to think about how to do each and every job safely. Any measure that could help prevent tragedy is worth it.,” Ms Williams said.
About 20 children under 15 years die on Australian farms each year and many more require medical treatment.
Studies have shown the major causes of child deaths and injuries on farms are dams, farm vehicles, machinery, motorcycles and horses.
Quad bikes remain a danger to adults and children alike, despite government initiatives to improve rollover safety.
The leading causes of injury to older children aged five to 14 years are two and four wheeled motorbikes and horses.