Farmers are being reminded of the importance of workplace safety and the impact an accident could have on families ahead of Mother's Day.
A joint campaign between the Country Women's Association of Victoria and WorkSafe has called on farms and agricultural businesses to rethink their approach to safety as farming families are often left to pick up the pieces following farm accidents.
In the Central Highlands area, which includes the City of Ballarat, Golden Plains Shire, Hepburn Shire, Pyrenees Shire, Moorabool Shire and Ararat Rural City, there were 29 agriculture-related injury claims accepted by WorkSafe in 2020.
This included one fatality when a 60-year-old farmer died when his tractor rolled at his Myrniong property, near Bacchus Marsh, after he was believed to be slashing on uneven ground.
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Men are disproportionately injured in farm accidents, with 95 per cent of deaths and 70 per cent of injuries being men, but CWA state president Marion Dewar said everybody felt the impact of these incidents.
"Sometimes we hear about the person who had the accident or now has this lifelong injury but we don't always hear about their families, their parents, their siblings, their partners, their children, their friends, their acquaintances, their work colleagues," she said.
"I think everyone in every area of the state, whether they're in a country area or an urban area or a city like Ballarat, must know someone who has been affected by a workplace fatality and, in this case, a farm workplace accident or fatality."
Ms Dewar said she was familiar with the impact farm deaths and injuries had on women and their children.
"Parents who work on farms are the backbone of this industry, but they're also responsible for caring for children while running the farming business and often even working in other jobs," she said.
"Incidents on farms overwhelmingly injure and kill men, which places an enormous strain on women and families, who must cope with loss of income, loss of support and disruption to succession planning."
WorkSafe executive director of health and safety Julie Nielsen said the farm workplace placed more pressure on families compared to some other industries.
"A farm is a house, home, and a playground, but it is also a workplace. As a result, agriculture remains a unique environment for prioritising safety," she said.
"WorkSafe stands alongside the CWA to share this important message - all mothers deserve their families to return home safe at the end of the day."
Information and safety support for Victorian farmers is available at worksafe.vic.gov.au/agriculture
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