Current OHS Issues

Quad Bike Safety

Quad bike rollovers are the leading cause of farm deaths in Australia and are one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment on farms.

In 2015 alone, there were 22 quad bike fatalities and around 70 injuries across Australia - and with eight in the first part of this year, local farming communities are being rocked by these tragic but largely preventable deaths.

The Victorian Government through the WorkSafe Victoria is encouraging farmers to take part in a $6 million rebate scheme for approved safety solutions to help reduce quad bike deaths. WorkSafe now accepts operator protection devices (OPD’s) fitted to a quad bike as part of the solution to controlling the risk to operators in the event of a rollover.

The rebate is being administered by the Victorian Farmers Federation.

Further details on farmer eligibility for the scheme can be found at www.bequadsafe.com.au

NFF and Safe Work Australia launch Farm Safety series

Not sure about how to do a risk assessment? The NFF, together with Safe Work Australia, have partnered to bring you two short videos with four simple steps to guide you through the legal process.

Watch these videos and you’ll see that things you do every day are probably already helping to meeting your legal obligations

Assessing Stockyard Risks

For farmer and vet, Tom Graham, safe cattle yard design has a dual benefit of keeping people safe and saving money by avoiding costly injury to prize cattle who might otherwise go through a section of old rails and break a leg.

Assessing Machinery Guarding Risks

Peter O’Connor is a broadacre farmer from Harden NSW. An incident involving a roof fall triggered a renewed safety focus on the 8,000 ha, O’Connor family farm, ‘Oxton Park’.

Child Safety On Farms

The subject of child safety on farms has been well documented in the past. However, with the recent release of the coroner’s report which investigated the tragic events of last year where a four year old child was fatally injured on the family farm, it is a good time to revisit this topic.

Although it is accepted that the farm is also the home, there is still a real need to establish specific farm safety rules.  Farm vehicles and mobile machinery account for almost three times as many young children being killed in rural areas of Australia as compared to their city counterparts and twice as many are killed as pedestrians in low speed impacts with vehicles. Ensure high traffic areas and areas where heavy machinery is operating or being worked on are deemed ‘No-Go Zones’ to small children. Instead establish a safe play area for children, such as a securely fenced house yard.

Farm rules go a long way to ensuring that we only get peace and quiet during school hours.

An ideal place to begin when making the decision to ensure your farm is as safe for children as possible is to conduct a Risk Assessment. To make this task less daunting, it is best to follow a simple farm safety checklist. The following checklist has been developed by Farmsafe Australia Inc. and is not intended to be a substitute for a comprehensive on farm safety inspection and occupational health and safety management system.

A complete on-line version of Child Safety on Farms can be accessed at: http://www.farmsafe.org.au/index.php?article=content/for-farmers/child-safety-on-farms

Checklist for Child Safety on Rural Properties

A Safe Place to Play

  • Is there a safe play area (eg. a fenced house yard) for small children which is securely separated from farm machinery, vehicles, work activities and other hazards?
  • Does the safe play area have shade and interesting things for children to do?
  • Are there ‘No-Go Zone’ rules, for children who are not with a supervising adult, which are regularly reinforced?
  • Do ‘No-Go Zone’ areas include all hazardous places (eg. water storages, machinery and vehicles, silos, workshops and areas where stock is yarded)?

Water

  • Are swimming pools, effluent ponds, channels or dams near the house securely fenced?
  • Are tanks, wells and troughs near the house fitted with lids/mesh and are unused dips and ditches filled in?
  • Have those who look after children been alerted to ‘keep watch’ when children are around or could wander off into water?
  • Do you know how to resuscitate a drowning child?

Farm Motorcycles

  • Are children appropriately trained and supervised when learning to ride two-wheeled motorcycles?
  • Do all riders always wear a correctly fitted motorcycle helmet, long pants, and sturdy footwear when riding farm motorbikes?
  • Does the farm adopt manufacturers’ recommendations and:
  • Prevent children under 16 from riding quad bikes (ATVs)?
  • Prevent passengers riding on quad bikes (ATVs)?

Horse

  • Are children only allowed to ride horses suited to their age and riding ability?
  • Are children appropriately instructed and supervised on your farm when learning to ride horses?
  • Do children on the farm always wear well-fitting riding helmets and smooth-soled riding boots when riding horses?

Tractors and Machinery

  • Do you prevent children from riding as passengers on tractors and mobile plant?
  • Are children encouraged to keep away from tractors and machinery on your farm or rural property?
  • ‘Tractors, machinery and children do not mix!’

Farm Vehicles

  • Do children always use seatbelts and proper restraints and never ride in the back of utilities?
  • Are drivers careful when moving vehicles near the house in case children are present?
  • ‘Watch out – children about’
  • Are keys kept out of reach of children when vehicles are not in use?

Other Hazards

Have other hazards (eg. firearms, chemicals, electrical, noise, silos) that children could access on your farm or rural property, been identified and addressed?

For more information regarding child safety on farms visit www.farmsafe.org.au or call the VFF on 1300 882 833.