Be farm safe with chil­dren

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - FARM SCENE -

Dairy farm­ers are be­ing urged to shine a spot­light on safety these school hol­i­days, as chil­dren spend more time on and around farms.

More than 20 chil­dren are fa­tally in­jured on Aus­tralian farms each year and to help ad­dress this, Dairy Aus­tralia has made avail­able an easy-to-use, read­ily ac­ces­si­ble, suite of re­sources for dairy farm­ers.

Farms pose var­i­ous risks to chil­dren and sadly 30 per cent of on-farm child deaths, are vis­i­tors.

Trag­i­cally, drown­ing is still the ma­jor cause of death on farms for chil­dren aged be­tween one and four years old.

Dairy Aus­tralia’s Farm Safety Starter Kit can be used by farm­ers to con­duct a quick safety scan of their prop­erty ahead of the hol­i­day pe­riod.

The Farm Safety Man­ual guides farm­ers on how to de­velop a com­pre­hen­sive safety sys­tem, in­clud­ing a chap­ter on chil­dren and vis­i­tors, with fifty quick tips and a straight­for­ward check­list.

Dairy Aus­tralia pro­gram man­ager Sarah Thomp­son said chil­dren liv­ing on and vis­it­ing farms over the hol­i­day pe­riod can be ex­posed to a range of work­place haz­ards not present in most homes.

“The safety and well­be­ing of farm fam­i­lies is too im­por­tant to let risks and haz­ards go un­ad­dressed,” Ms Thomp­son said.

“Ev­ery ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing a child on a farm is pre­ventable, and there is no bet­ter time to con­sider safety than dur­ing the long sum­mer break.”

Gipp­s­land dairy farmer Tr­ish Ham­mond said the re­sources had helped her put safe­guards in place for her three kids, Dane, 10, Am­ber, 8 and Lara, 6.

Mind­ful of po­ten­tial safety risks, Ms Ham­mond’s chil­dren are not al­lowed in the dairy with­out a par­ent present, and chil­dren and vis­i­tors are su­per­vised at all times.

“We have a num­ber of rules in place to make sure they stay out of harm’s way,” Ms Ham­mond said.

“We’re very close to a road and my fear has al­ways been that the kids will ven­ture off, so we put in place an ‘in­vis­i­ble line’ the kids are not al­lowed to cross.

“Ef­flu­ent ponds are also off lim­its – they are no go zones and the kids have grown up know­ing the ponds are ab­so­lutely out of bounds.”

Dairy farm­ers can ac­cess Dairy Aus­tralia’s Farm Safety tools at thep­eo­pleindairy.com.au or reg­is­ter for work­shops by con­tact­ing their lo­cal Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram.

Five things farm­ers could be do­ing to keep kids safe on farm:

1. Clearly ex­plain safety rules to chil­dren and vis­i­tors 2. Iden­tify ‘no go’ zones 3. Im­ple­ment chil­dren’s play ar­eas to re­strict ac­cess to ma­chin­ery, traf­fic, live­stock and wa­ter

4. Se­cure haz­ardous ar­eas such as chem­i­cals, wa­ter, ef­flu­ent ponds and work­shops

5. In­stall clear direc­tions and sig­nage for chil­dren and vis­i­tors to fol­low

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