Safe Work Australia stresses importance of farm OHS

Farmers are urged to stay safe at work this summer.

Farmers are urged to stay safe at work this summer.

Safe Work Australia CEO Rex Hoy has praised the success of the recent Farmsafe Symposium, which was held on the last day of national Safe Work Australia Month in October.

The conference was held at Parliament House in Canberra and featured a host of community groups, farming organisations and industry and union representatives from across Australia and New Zealand. Its purpose was to promote workplace health and safety in the farming sector through a range of presentations.

Mr Hoy said he was pleased with the turnout at this year’s event and the way in which presenters highlighted the importance of OHS in farming environments.

“There was a high level of commitment by presenters and attendees to improve safety and keep Australian farmers and their families safe,” he said in a November 1 statement.

“During Safe Work Australia Month we saw how much dedication exists across the nation to improve work health and safety, not just in the agriculture industry but in all industries.”

He also said it was appropriate that the country’s most dangerous industry became the focus on the final day of Safe Work Australia Month.

According to Safe Work Australia, 17 per cent of all work fatalities in Australia come from the agriculture sector – even though just 2.7 per cent of Australian workers are in this industry.

In addition, the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector has seen the most workplace deaths this year, with 38 fatalities as of October 31.

Around three quarters of deaths in the industry involved vehicles commonly used on farms such as tractors and quad bikes, and Mr Hoy stressed that there was much work to be done to cut down this figure.

“Improving farm safety and in particular quad bike safety requires a concerted effort from all parties,” he said.

He urged employers to work with Safe Australia and “take action” to improve the safety of farm workers. OHS training courses, for example, can help your employees keep up to speed with farm safety practices.

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