Culture of farm safety only way forward

18 Jul, 2017 04:00 AM
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John Versteden: The health and safety of our dairy workforce is crucial to the sustainability of our industry.
It is time we all agree to stop, take a step back, and change the way we think about safety on farm.
John Versteden: The health and safety of our dairy workforce is crucial to the sustainability of our industry.

Dairy farmers need to commit to tougher safety standards on farm. Keeping ourselves, our families, and our staff safe is the number one priority.

Unfortunately, if you look at the dairy farm safety statistics for the past 10 years you will see that, on average, two dairy farmers are killed per year and more than 300 injured.

The tragic impact on-farm deaths have on families and communities cannot be overstated.

It is time we all agree to stop, take a step back, and change the way we think about safety on our farms. Our goal is zero fatalities on dairy farms. Our second goal should be zero preventable injuries on farm.

The health and safety of our dairy workforce is crucial to the sustainability of our industry.

By the industry acknowledging the need to create a culture of safety across the supply chain, we will be able to reduce the occurrence of fatalities and injuries on farm.

Despite raised awareness and all the tools at our disposal, we are still pushing for an improvement in the culture of safety on farm.

A culture of safety is something that is ingrained in your mind and at the front of your actions. It lives in everyday conversation and must be seen as an investment ù not a cost.

We need to urgently drive action to not only ensure we have no workplace fatalities but also to ensure that all of our people ù whether they work in manufacturing facilities, on farms or in the service sector ù have a safe and healthy workplace.

To achieve a culture of safety, it must become part of our everyday conversation and practice across the dairy value chain.

Protecting our workforce has always been a top priority for our industry. ADF is partnering with Dairy Australia and state dairy farming organisations, regulators and manufacturers to deliver the tools and training our workforce needs.

ADF supports practical measures to prevent injury and deaths on farm. These include complying with work health and safety regulations by identifying potential risks on farm and following farm safety guidelines.

Dairy Australia has developed a Farm Safety Starter Kit to encourage farmers to get their Farm Safety System underway or improve their existing systems.

The Farm Safety Starter Kit starts with a Safety System Snapshot that allows the farm owner, and the farm team, to check how their safety system measures up against work health and safety legislation.

The starter kit also encourages farmers to think back 2-3 years and record the actions they have taken on the farm that have improved safety.

The Quick Safety Scans are designed to get the farm team involved in checking for safety issues in the key hazard areas and then take action to minimise them. Each scan is designed to be done in 30 minutes.

The Farm Safety Starter Kit will be followed up with a Farm Safety Manual released later this year, to enable farmers to build a comprehensive Farm Safety System.

We urge all farmers to keep everyone safe on farm by talking to their staff and leading by example. Each year, accidental deaths on dairy farms have a tragic impact on families and communities across Australia. There's no excuse not to be 'farm safe' in your workplace.

Building a farm safety culture is the only way forward.D

To download a copy of the Farm Safety Starter Kit or to order a hard copy visit .

*John Versteden is Australian Dairy Farmers people and human capacity policy advisory group chair.

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