Safety first on the farm

Central Queensland News - - RURAL WEEKLY - MICHAEL GUERIN CEO AgForce

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 with 30 per cent of work­place deaths in Queens­land hap­pen­ing on farms.

Off-road ve­hi­cles such as quad bikes and side-by-sides are an es­sen­tial piece of equip­ment for many farm­ers, but are also among the big­gest cause of deaths.

Over the past 15 years, 69 peo­ple have been killed in quad bike ac­ci­dents in Queens­land – al­most a third of the na­tional to­tal – and many more have been in­jured.

AgForce is com­mit­ted to do­ing what we can to im­prove farm safety and we’ve re­cently formed a part­ner­ship with Po­laris Aus­tralia to help raise aware­ness of the im­por­tance of us­ing off-road ve­hi­cles cor­rectly with the ap­pro­pri­ate safety equip­ment.

The part­ner­ship will give AgForce mem­bers ac­cess to safety train­ing and sig­nif­i­cant dis­counts on Po­laris ve­hi­cles, parts and ac­ces­sories.

It’s about help­ing farm­ers stay safe, pick the right tool for the job, and save some money at the same time.

AgForce sup­ports po­lices that are in­cen­tive-based rather than harsh reg­u­la­tory penal­ties, and we are team­ing up with Po­laris to call on the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment to in­tro­duce a quad bike safety re­bate pro­gram.

With both Vic­to­rian and New South Wales farm­ers hav­ing ac­cess to safety re­bates, we think it’s about time Queens­land farm­ers did too.

We be­lieve State Gov­ern­ment re­bates to­wards al­ter­na­tive ve­hi­cles such as side-by-sides with in­te­grated roll over pro­tec­tion struc­tures and hel­mets, would go a long way to­wards im­prov­ing quad bike safety on Queens­land farms.

AgForce has re­cently re­leased two tools to help pri­mary pro­duc­ers with their work health and safety and hu­man re­sources needs.

They are avail­able to­gether as the Em­ploy­ers’ Tool­kit or sep­a­rately as the Safety Man­age­ment Sys­tem and Em­ploy­ers Man­ual.

The AgForce Safety Man­age­ment Sys­tem is a com­pre­hen­sive and in­te­grated sys­tem that en­sures that all work on the prop­erty is con­ducted safely.

It al­lows busi­ness own­ers to im­ple­ment a fully doc­u­mented, ac­ces­si­ble and com­pre­hen­si­ble sys­tem that mon­i­tors and im­proves safety on farm.

The AgForce Em­ploy­ment Man­ual pro­vides poli­cies, pro­ce­dures and tem­plates to help ru­ral busi­nesses with most as­pects of em­ploy­ment.

It is de­signed to com­ple­ment the Safety Man­age­ment Sys­tem in help­ing pro­duc­ers meet their obli­ga­tions to em­ploy work­ers cor­rectly.

More de­tails in­clud­ing the costs and how to or­der are avail­able on our web­site at www.ag­force­qld.org.au.

Your fam­ily and your em­ploy­ees are your most valu­able as­sets so it’s im­por­tant to reg­u­larly talk about work­place health and safety, and en­sure your sys­tems are up to date.

With good in­for­ma­tion, in­struc­tion and train­ing, your work­force will re­ward you with a job well done.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

STAY­ING SAFE: AgForce CEO Michael Guerin, Cen­tral Bike Cen­tre Emer­ald Manag­ing Di­rec­tor Ross Dray­ton, Po­laris Queens­land State Man­ager Matthew Nor­ris and Farm and Gar­den Prod­ucts Rock­hamp­ton Man­ager Tony Pat­ter­son.

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