Farm safety made a priority in NSW

Published: May 2019

A new farm safety guide, produced by SafeWork NSW and NSW Farmers has been launched, ensuring farmers and their families stay safe when working on the land.  

The launch of The A-Z of Farm Safety at TAFE NSW Dubbo. From left: senior project manager for SafeWork NSW Jeremy Whyte, Gracia Kusuma NSW Farmers’ industrial relations manager, Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson, NSW Farmers’ president James Jackson, newly elected Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders, NSW Farmers’ Dubbo branch secretary Wendy Morris, SafeWork NSW’s executive director Tony Williams and Mark Chillingworth, assistant state inspector for SafeWork NSW, based in Tamworth. Photos by Pip Farquharson. 

WE all know how important safety is on farms – and now a new guide has been launched that’s designed to help save lives.

The A-Z of Farm Safety booklet is a joint project of SafeWork NSW and NSW Farmers, and the guide was officially launched at TAFE NSW Dubbo by NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson.  

Farming is dangerous work – SafeWork NSW has found that those who work in agriculture are at greater risk of being killed or injured at work than in most other industries, with 367 farm industry fatalities from 2001-2015. 

NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson, with the A-Z of Farm Safety booklet. Kevin said the publication made making health and safety compliance much easier. 

The guide provides advice for farmers, by farmers, on how to work safely across a number of different farming disciplines. Topics covered include safe use of chemicals, mental health, machinery guards and vaccinations.

Read the A – Z of Farm Safety here

The guide also offers life-saving tips to improve quad bike safety, an important issue for many farmers, with the risk of death reduced by as much as 40% if the rider is wearing a helmet. Joint and muscular health is another topic, with 29% of workplace injuries caused by hazardous manual tasks and the booklet provides advice on how to make your health a priority.

Minister Kevin Anderson lauded the booklet, saying: “It is a ground-breaking tool created by farmers for farmers, and includes cost-effective advice on the biggest work, health and safety concerns.”

“This guide gives great advice on how people can manage heat, the use of chemicals, as well as fall prevention techniques and tips for working in confined spaces.” – Minister Kevin Anderson 

NSW Farmers president James Jackson, who was also present, told the gathering of the importance the organisation has placed on farm safety, reiterating “that farms are not static workplaces and that they are very dynamic workplaces. At harvest time you have huge numbers of people coming on and off your farm."
“With drought there has been a lot of new risks - a lot are feeding animals and there is a dust risk, for example.” – James Jackson

Newly elected Member for Dubbo, Dugald Saunders acknowledged the difficulty with prioritising safety, saying “with all the challenges that come with working on the land, health and safety can often seem too difficult to put on the agenda. That is why we’re encouraging farmers to have a look at this simple guide to better protect them and their families."

Newly elected Member for Dubbo, Dugald Saunders is impressed with the practical initiative.

“Agriculture is a $12 billion industry employing 81,000 people across the state and we are committed to improving the safety and productivity across the sector.” – Dugald Saunders 

The guide was produced by the team at The Farmer, the magazine of NSW Farmers.

SafeWork NSW's Jeremy Whyte, editor of The Farmer magazine Michelle Endacott and Gracia Kusuma, the Industrial Relations manager for NSW Farmers.

Other attendees at the launch included NSW Farmers industrial relations manager Gracia Kusuma, Safework Executive Director – Operations Tony Williams, Safework Senior Project Officer Jeremy Whyte and The Farmer editor Michelle Endacott.

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