Farming is the most dangerous occupation in Australia with the Australian Farm Deaths & Injuries Media Monitors Snapshot by The University of Sydney reporting 68 fatalities in 2017 - up from 63 in 2016.
Farms are dangerous places for everyone, but children are particularly vulnerable as it is often their home, with 9 of the 68 fatalities involving a child aged 15 years or under. Quads and tractors were reported as being involved in farm accidents most frequently.
To help reduce the risks associated with farming and the farming lifestyle, we have compiled a list of steps to help reduce the risks associated with farming.
Farm maintenance and safety
• Regularly explore your farm on foot and detail any maintenance jobs that need to be done and plan a timeframe for each to be completed
• Use this opportunity to assess all evident safety risks and ensure they are minimised as quickly as possible.
• Consult with workers and family members around potential hazards and safety improvements
• Ensure all machinery and equipment is fitted with the latest safety tools and guards and is in good repair.
• Ensure all employees are trained properly for the use of all machinery and equipment and use appropriate personal safety protection.
• Equipment such as grain augurs are particularly dangerous – make sure they are properly guarded.
• Make sure you have a safe and enclosed space for children to play close to the house – implement child resistant fences and self-latching gates around this space.
• All water – including dams, wells, tanks and troughs near the house need to be properly guarded, the entrances to all confined spaces such as silos and, manure pits securely fastened, and dangerous equipment and chemicals locked away.
• Introduce and enforce out-of-bounds areas on the farm for children.
• Ensure children wear helmets when riding horses and bikes, always wear seatbelts in vehicles and never travel as a passenger in tractors, on four-wheel motorbikes and other machinery.
• Talk with your children about safety around the farm and make it an open topic of conversation.
Control noise on your farm
• Around two thirds of people in the farming community have some form of hearing loss – be particularly vigilant around firearms, chainsaws and machinery with extreme noise levels.
• Try and reduce the noise on your farm where possible
• Always wear hearing protection and try to limit exposure to extreme noise situations
Draw up an emergency plan
• Ensure everyone on the farm understands the plan, and is properly educated on farm risks and first aid.
• Maintain regular contact with workers through mobile phone or short-wave radio – particularly when people are working alone.
• Ensure emergency numbers are readily available and routes to the nearest hospital are planned and well understood.
• Keep a log of injuries and near misses to isolate areas for improvement.
Make sure that should the unexpected happen: you, your employees and your farm are covered for financial losses. The right farm insurance cover will ensure your farm is fully protected.
CGU can also provide comprehensive Workers Compensation Insurance for your business. Speak to your insurance adviser today about the benefits of insuring with CGU. Visit cgu.com.au to find an adviser.