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Safe farm practices make dollars and sense 15 Jul 2016

Don’t be left counting the cost of on-farm injuries or fatalities.

That’s the message to the agriculture sector ahead of National Farm Safety Week, which runs from 18 to 22 July 2016 with the theme of Safe Farms = Profit.

Primary Industries Health and Safety Partnership Advisory Committee chairman Gordon Gregory said farm managers need to ensure their work health and safety (WHS) practices are up to date and being implemented on a daily basis.

"There is countless data that shows a direct link between safe farms and profitability, so it makes sense to have the most effective WHS plan in place," he said.

"For example, a 2013 report by Safe Work Australia showed that typical compensation claims from an employee injured in the agriculture sector involved one and a half weeks off work, and that overall, claims by employees in agriculture require longer periods off work than those in any other industry in Australia.1

"That equates to a significant cost to the bottom line of farms across the country, but of course this is nothing compared to the emotional costs to a family when there is a fatality on-farm."

In figures released earlier this month by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety, which coordinates Farm Safety Week, 30 farm deaths were reported on in the Australian media in the first six months of 2016 and 44 non-fatal on-farm incidents made the news in the same timeframe.

Mr Gregory said the statistics were extremely alarming.

"Quad bikes, tractors, other farm vehicles, unguarded machinery, hazardous manual tasks, animal handling and mustering remain the top health and safety risks in the farming industry today," he said.

"The figures highlight the need for all farm managers to maintain and constantly update their WHS procedures and adhere to best practice guidelines in the name of ensuring everyone who works on their property returns home safely at the end of each day."

The goal of the Partnership is to improve the health and safety of workers and their families in farming industries across Australia. It is funded by the Cotton, Grains and Rural Industries Research and Development Corporations, as well as the Australian Meat Processor Corporation and Meat & Livestock Australia.

For more information about the partnership and its farm health and safety publications and resources, visit www.rirdc.gov.au/PIHSP

For farm safety resources and more information about Farm Safety Week, visit http://www.farmsafe.org.au

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Media contact: James Tolmie – 0439 991 082

The Primary Industries Health and Safety Partnership (PIHSP) is funded by the Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC), Cotton Research & Development Corporation (CRDC), Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC), Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC). The PIHSP aims to drive sustainable improvements to work health and safety outcomes in agriculture, forestry and fishing through investment in RD&E.

1 Safe Work Australia (2013) Work-related injuries and fatalities on Australian farms, March 2013. Accessed 4 July 2016 at: http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents/759/Work-related-injuries-fatalities-farms.pdf