The inspirational story of paralympian Scott Reardon has helped to launch a national farm safety campaign in Canberra today.
Mr Reardon lost his leg in a PTO accident on the family farm at the age of 12 and is now a fierce campaigner for farm and workplace safety.
His cause is worthy. Last year 68 people died on Australian farms and countless others sustained debilitating injuries, causing grief in our communities and costing more than $100 million in medical bills and lost productivity.
Mr Reardon joined Fairfax Agricultural Media’s Penelope Arthur and Farm Safe Australia chairman Charles Armstrong at the National Farmers’ Federation in Canberra for the official launch of Safe Hands.
Safe Hands is national farm safety campaign that will see a special 40-page publication inserted into all Fairfax agricultural mastheads including The Land, Queensland Country Life, the North Queensland Register, Stock Journal, Stock and Land and Farm Weekly.
The campaign also includes a strong online component across these websites.
The launch was timed to coincide with Farm Safety Week which runs until Friday.
Mr Reardon said he was honoured to be part of the Safe Hands campaign and implored farmers to take head of the stories and messages contained in the special publication.
“I have been around farm machinery and around farming communities for a lot of years and I still see today that a lot of the risks involved can be eliminated by just taking a few seconds to actually think about what we are going to do before we do it,' he said.
“Workplace safety needs to be unconsciously safe – like crossing a road – with campaigns like this we can potentially save a few lives and potentially save a few legs along the way.”
Ms Arthur said it had been an enlightening and, at times, emotional experience editing Safe Hands.
“I’d really like to thank the people like Scott who have shared their personal stories as part of this campaign,” she said.
“Often those stories are hard to relive for people and their families but they have done that in the hope that we may actually save lives and reduce the risks on farms.
“We think this is the first ever national farm safety campaign which is pretty incredible given how important this issue is.”
Ms Arthur also thanked the Federal Department of Agriculture who got behind the campaign.
“Minister Littleproud couldn’t be here today but he really saw the value in our vision for this campaign which was terrific.”