Agriculture is the biggest employer in our rural and regional communities.
Given this, we need to be leaders in safety - for our farmers, their families, for every employee and everyone in our communities.
Country people often have easy going, laid back attitudes and that’s a great thing. But we cannot afford a “she’ll be right” approach to farm safety.
I’ve met countless farming families as a rural bank manager and I’ve seen the effects injuries can have on individuals, families, communities and businesses.
I knew an agronomist from Dirranbandi who worked enormous hours as uncertainty in his industry made it unclear as to whether he could afford an employee. Eventually he rolled his ute. He escaped with his life and got home to see his wife and children again. But this near-miss is always a huge reminder to me of the importance of farm safety.
Often farmers, their families and employees take too much on themselves, physically and emotionally.
The importance of seeking help when in need is a key message of Farm Safety Week.
I commend FarmSafe and all those involved in Farm Safety Week for their efforts to make farms safer, prevent accidents, raise awareness and educate our communities.
Government can’t fix everything. Society needs to lead change in order for that change to last and that’s why I’m so glad industry and peak work safety bodies are leading this change. I congratulate them.
National Farm Safety week can help get discussions happening at home and the in workplace.
From vehicle and tractor safety, to working with chemicals and animals, to dealing with stress and mental health or the safety of older farmers and children—a range of issues must be openly discussed and addressed.
Tragically, we have seen a number of farmers killed riding quad bikes this year.
The Australian Government is working with state and territory governments to improve quad bike safety.
Mental health is a huge issue in our communities and can be a contributing factor in accidents. Mental illness is not weakness and asking for help needs to be seen for what it is - a sign of strength. The Federal Government now has Medicare funded counselling via Skype for rural people (after the first consultation). But we all have a part to play here: If you notice a mate is down, I urge you to ask him or her “Are you ok?”
Farm Safety Week runs for seven days, but we should all focus on farm safety every day of the year.