Summer is fast approaching in Australia, and farmers and grain growers across the country are currently preparing for what will hopefully be a prosperous harvest season.

But while this time of year may be an important and busy period for harvest workers, WorkSafe Victoria is reminding everyone in the industry not to let good health and safety practices fall by the wayside.

“Nobody – workers, family, friends or the wider community – should have to suffer the trauma of a workplace fatality,” said WorkSafe Health and Safety General Manager Lisa Sturzenegger in a statement released October 18.

According to Ms Sturzenegger, there have already been three farm deaths recorded in Victoria since June. In September, a Robinvale man was killed when he was run over by a tractor when trying to climb down from the vehicle.

Incidents such as these should serve as a timely reminder about the high-risk nature of the farming industry.

WorkSafe Victoria has offered a range of safety tips for farm workers to keep in mind this harvest season, in order to ensure they stay safe and avoid injury while on the job.

These include understanding the limitations of any equipment you are using, taking extra care when conducting repairs and maintenance, keeping the lines of communication open and making sure that operators are all trained and competent.

Care should also be taken to ensure fatigue is managed carefully and that harvest workers are given regular rest and hydration breaks – particularly when working in hot conditions.

“We want everyone to put safety at the front of their mind, reassess their systems of work and, if there’s a safety risk, make changes,” said Ms Sturzenegger.

“Don’t be the next workplace fatality. Identify and control the risk before it’s too late.”

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