Monday, 29 August 2016 11:50

Safety kit aims to reduce dairy sector's horror toll

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DAIRY Australia is asking everyone on farm to put safety first to reduce the industry's shocking injury and death toll.

Announcing the launch of it new safety kit last month, Dairy Australia managing director Ian Halliday said: “Safety must be first and foremost in everyone’s mind when working around a farm. We must try to ensure everyone thinks ‘safety’ before starting on a job.”

The Farm Safety Starter Kit includes a set of Quick Safety Scans that can be used to check for potential hazards and risks on the farm.

It also has a Safety System Snapshot, which will enable farmers to check their farm safety systems against the current Work Health and Safety legislation.

The Farm Safety Starter Kit will be followed by a comprehensive Farm Safety Manual, which is currently undergoing trials.

“It’s a good time to focus on how we can prevent future work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses,” Mr Halliday said.

“Unfortunately, 2016 has been a horror year for deaths on dairy farms. Five people have died already and we are only half way through the year.

“It is a time to remember those who have died from a work-related injury or illness.

"'By raising awareness of work health and safety and taking action we can help prevent further injuries and deaths.”

Australian Dairy Farmers’ acting president David Basham said to retain a highly skilled workforce a culture shift is required.

“Dairy farms are not typical workplaces. There are many potential risks and stressful situations – particularly because many farms operate with the added pressure of running a small, family business,” Mr Basham said.
“Across Australia, one in five people suffer with mental health issues.

“Farmers are no exception. Dairy farm life in some of our key dairy regions is very stressful at the moment. We need to lead the industry in prioritising health, safety and well-being – for the benefit of our people.

“It’s one thing to go through the pain and cost of injury, the lost time and productivity; it’s quite another thing to have a worker or family member die at work on the farm. No monetary compensation will ever replace that person.”

Worksafe Victoria recently reported that farms are the most dangerous work places in the state with 30% of workplace deaths in an industry that employs just three per cent of the workforce.

Research shows that it does not cost a lot of money to set up a practical farm safety system yet the economic impacts are substantial.

According to the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety (2015) for the 39 dairy related cases, the estimated direct economic impact was $88.6 million, with an average of $2.27 million.

Dairy Australia says it is working with state safety regulators and milk processors to provide farmers with the awareness and training they need to operate safely.

“Farm safety is a top priority issue for us,” said Mr Halliday.

“We need to work together to change mindsets and behaviour to ensure these tragedies don’t continue to haunt the dairy industry.”

The new Farm Safety Starter Kit can be downloaded or ordered at

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ACCC urges caution on quad bikes after rise in fatalities

THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is urging the community to undertand the risk of quad bikes after a 30 per cent increase in fatalities this year - many of them children.

To prevent quad bike accidents this summer, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning the community to be fully prepared, wear protective gear and ride safe.

“Tragically, 20 Australians have died this year from quad bike accidents, including a six-year-old, a seven-year-old and a 15-year-old. In 2014, there were 15 deaths – sadly, a 30 per cent increase in fatalities this year,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“Alarmingly, January is the most common month for quad bike deaths among children in Australia. January also has twice the injury rate of other months.”

“Many consumers expect that quad bikes can safely go on all kinds of terrain and surfaces. Unfortunately, this isn’t true – riding on steep slopes, rough terrain and even hard, flat surfaces (such as tarmac and asphalt) may cause the quad bike to become unstable and very dangerous,” Ms Rickard said.

There have been more than 210 deaths associated with quad bikes in Australia since 2001; with children involved in about a third of emergency department presentations involving quad bike accidents during recreational activity.

“A large proportion of quad bike-related deaths during recreational activity have involved the quad bike tipping or rolling over. In cases involving children, the quad bike had tipped or rolled over in almost 75 per cent of incidents,” Ms Rickard said.

“Before getting on a quad bike, you must consider the bike’s condition, how much training you’ve had and whether you’re wearing enough protective gear. Children should never ride quad bikes intended for adults, either as drivers or passengers. Children must be supervised at all times near quad bikes.”

Prepare safe

  • Ensure you are properly trained before you ride a quad bike.
  • Maintain the bike so it is in safe condition.
  • Read the operator manual and observe the manufacturer's safety warnings and recommended use of the vehicle.
  • Before you leave for a quad bike ride, always tell someone where you plan to go and when you expect to return.

Wear safe

  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Wear protective clothing and gear such as goggles, long sleeves, long pants, boots and gloves/hand protection.

Ride safe

  • Never let children ride quad bikes that are meant for adults – even as passengers.
  • Do not carry any passengers on quad bikes that are meant for one person.
  • Quad bikes are not all-terrain vehicles so they cannot go safely on all types of terrain. Avoid riding on rough terrain or steep slopes.
  • Ride on familiar tracks and beware of obstacles.
  • Never ride under the influence of alcohol/drugs.
  • Ensure children are supervised at all times near any quad bike activity.
  • Always carry a mobile phone or radio device so you can contact help in case of an emergency.

Further information on quad bike safety is available on the Product Safety Australia website.


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