Be farm safe with children
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