October is National Safe Work Month and it is a good time to reflect on what we are all doing to stay safe on our farms, and to keep our families and employees safe.
While agriculture is an extremely rewarding and satisfying occupation, it can also be very dangerous.
It is a little known fact that while only 3 per cent of Queenslanders work on farms, nearly 30pc of workplace deaths happen on them.
Your family and your employees are your most valuable assets so it’s important to regularly talk about workplace health and safety.
With good information, instruction and training, your workforce will reward you with a job well done and done safely.
With the grain harvest upon us already in some areas and about to start in others, it’s timely to check powerline heights, rethink your traffic flow and ensure all workers and contractors know what is expected of them.
Guarding and maintenance of augers and other plant is also vital to ensure a safe harvest.
Quad bike safety is another area that needs focus as one of the biggest causes of deaths and injuries on Australian farms is from quad bikes, with over half of those due to the bikes rolling over and crushing or asphyxiating the rider.
I know from personal experience the dangers of quad bikes having almost lost my son in an accident a few years ago.
AgForce encourages primary producers to operate quad bikes and all-terrain vehicles that are within manufacturer guidelines and fit for purpose, utilising training and using appropriate safety equipment.
We also support polices that are incentive-based rather than harsh regulatory penalties, and with both the Victorian and New South Wales Governments introducing quad bike safety rebate programs in their states, AgForce is calling for a similar program for Queensland farmers.
The Victorian Government has allocated $6 million over two years to its scheme, and AgForce would like to see the Queensland Government make a similar investment.
We believe rebates towards the installation of operator and crush protection devices, for alternative vehicles such as side-by-sides and for helmets would go a long way towards improving quad bike safety and helping save lives on Queensland farms.