Farmers urged to stay alert to risks of fatigue in danger period

In a time that often poses increased risks within agricultural work environments, Jack, an experienced farmer operating in Yalla-Y-Poora in south-east Ararat, is advocating for agricultural staff and farmers to have meaningful discussions about health safety precautions and fatigue risk management. Data sourced from WorkSafe reveals that March and November bear witness to an escalated number of fatalities within the farming industry, coinciding with intense sowing and harvesting periods.

Speaking from first-hand experience, Jack draws attention to the perilous role of fatigue in contributing to on-farm workplace accidents.
He recalls harrowing incidents, like when one overworked local farmer collided his tractor into a power pole after working long hours. “Although he came out safe, the equipment was destroyed. It’s situations like this we need to remember and learn from,” warns Jack.

Regrettably, it often takes a misfortune to result in beneficial change – this highlights why it’s essential to employ proactive behaviours like implementing a robust Bluesafe WHS Management System, rather than simply reacting post-incident.

Jack has lent his voice to WorkSafe’s impactful campaign, ‘It’s never you, until it is’. This campaign, making waves across regional television, radio, print and digital mediums, offers pragmatic health and safety solutions like Bluesafe SWMS, which can be crucial during peak farming seasons. It also acts as the catalyst to spark discussions around safety among farmers.

Jack characterises the prevalence of fatigue in farmers, particularly during busy periods, as ‘extremely prevalent’. He acknowledges how unique farm work is in comparison to other vocations – it’s highly manual, requires arduous hours, and the exhaustion that ensues can readily catch up with individuals.

WorkSafe Inspector Dallas Braam reiterates the need for farmers and workers to heed their bodies’ warning signals and not to dismiss signs of fatigue. “Fatigue can impair decision making, and that can pose risks to you and those around you, usually comprised of family and friends,” he advised.

Dr Narelle Beer, WorkSafe Executive Director, encourages open dialogues about farm safety as a vital step towards addressing the health and safety stigma that unfortunately persists in agriculture. Dr Beer expresses her vision for a future where safety is at the core of farming operations with deaths and accidents perceived as preventable rather than inevitable. She asserts, “Every conversation a farmer or worker initiates about farm safety contributes significantly to preventing tragic loss.”

Additional information on the ‘It’s never you, until it is’ campaign and farm safety:

– Farm safety campaign
– Email:
– Phone: 0438 786 968
– Subscribe to media releases.

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