New National Young Farmers Safety Pilot Takes Shape

Significant injury and death is a startling and shocking current fact of farming life, but change is in the air.  After a horror spate of workplace injuries in 2018, an unprecedented amount has happened in the Agriculture Industry. Our farming communities are hurting. However brand new initiatives are taking shape in Australia, and it’s nothing short of inspiring, and it is about time. Farmers need help!

One such initiative actioned by the Nation Centre for Farmers Health is an interactive, fun and engaging farmer safety education program. The pilot ran over February at various Secondary Colleges and Ag Colleges in Victoria. The ultimate aim? To help prevent workplace accidents and educate about Personal Protection Equipment.  Gardening with farmer

Alex Robinson, spokesperson for Farmers Health says “The pilot was very positive! We sourced this program from overseas, where it has had an impressive impact on farming communities. This isn’t about replacing existing learning; it is an additional resource to enhance that younger demographic’s learning opportunity. The next generation needs reaching, and as we start to gather the results from the pilot, the feedback so far suggests some tangible results” says the passionate advocate.

Safety goes a long way-3

The program originated in North America and facilitated a powerful emotive connection between young farmers and the workplace with plenty of interactive facets, hands-on learning, and visual cues. The program assists in upskilling and identifying risks. It took the organizers 12 months to get the program pilot over here with a long-term goal to roll it out across the country.Hay bales

“The program is quite plastic; we can adapt it to different areas. For example, one area may be focussed on the dairy industry, whilst Horsham, for example, has a cropping and grains bias” says Alex. “We will be surveying the participants and measuring practice and follow through, to see how the learning translates into implementation Australia. Assessing risk and making appropriate choices, being able to read the various situations for young farmers is the outcome we are aiming for.”

Martin Stow founding director of BERT in Australia commented that “Programs such as these with a different angle, a different aspect that can help bridge the younger generation and help reduce Agriculture workplace tragedies are inspiring to say the least. We know how popular digital tools have been in this industry with our Gannawarra Council Digital transformation. Digital tools are becoming popular for all ages. However the young demographic has been most enthusiastic. It is all about making safety simple, accessible and we congratulate The National Centre for Farmers Health on doing just that in such a new dynamic.”

Camping Gear Sale

The National Centre for Farmer’s Health has education at the heart of its organization. “It is of key importance to improve the health, safety, and well-being of farm men, women and children. Rural Australians experience poorer health outcomes than their urban counterparts, and agricultural workers record higher incidences of injury, illness and work-related death than most other industries.”

For more information about the new initiative go to https://www.farmerhealth.org.au/page/education
For more information about what BERT is doing for the Agriculture Industry CLICK HERE

 

Death Toll Calls for Solutions

The start of 2018 has been tragic with 12 people killed in workplace incidents in Australia. Many were in the agriculture and farming sector. A well experienced, well known and loved community man crushed to death in a sales yard. A young father slowly asphyxiated in a silo. Another had a tractor roll onto him after a mechanical fault. One young farm worker burned beyond recognition, the investigation still pending. These are just an example of many. None will be going home. All have families. The year 2018 marks the year life will never be the same for any of them.

It stands to reason this industry needs help. We knew this a year ago when we went to the people asking them about their workplace safety and what the issues were. We did not hit the books. We hit the road.  

We spoke with farm managers, herd managers, dairy farmers, fruit and veggie growers. We asked them, what do you need? What are you doing regarding keeping the Workplace safe and ticking the boxes? The responses echoed one another, and they were alarming. 

Emergency medical service

“We don’t have the time to do everything expected; our roles are so time-consuming and task heavy, doing all the paperwork is not practical. Therefore it doesn’t all get done.”

“Inductions are quick and on the go, not in-depth or to legislation if they are done at all. The problem you have: Modern Agriculture consists of machinery, heavy duty, logistics, and complex management systems. We don’t have the means to get this done correctly.”

Often the “we just have to use common sense” approach is the catchcry. Common sense, however, does not stop a farming tragedy. One farming manager said of his bosses; they were so tired of the rats eating the paperwork off the tractor, they just didn’t bother. Induction? Forget it. Here are the tractors, here are the cows, put them there, then do this. You get the idea.

The reality is 50% of the workers who died in 2017 were employed either in the agriculture or primary production sector. 306 people have been killed in farming accidents in Australia since 2012. This figure doesn’t mention those critically injured or left permanently disabled. What about the 61.8 Billion dollar cost of work-related injury and disease to the Australian economy? 

sad son hugging his dad

What is the leading killer? Machinery and vehicles.

Those not killed are left in dire straits. Wounds, amputations, traumatic ligament and joint damage and head injuries took up 59% of injuries in the workplace in Australia in 2017.

The age bracket most affected? Young blokes and blokes aged between 55 and 65. Many of them highly experienced, but more importantly, all of them loved. Common sense doesn’t come into it.

Machinery fails, bolts break, things happen to items that are repeatedly used or neglected to be used. Daily inspections, pre-vehicle and machinery checks for faults, amongst so many other failsafe measures have to be taken to stop the carnage. So how do we do this without interrupting and upsetting the workload of these industry owners, managers, and employees? 

Closeup of wheelchair wheel

Crossing your fingers a WorkSafe rep doesn’t pop in for a cuppa and a check? Well get the kettle boiling, Worksafe has announced that 40,000 businesses of all industries will be inspected this year.

So what is the solution? We put our team together to come up with a streamlined one-click product that would take away all the paper, take away all the long lists that take up time and make it quick, simple, efficient and compliant, but most of all: AFFORDABLE. SAVING you money, not costing you a fortune. 

These are just a sample of the products we have ready:

Pre-Vehicle Checks

  • Dairy Equipment and Management Checks
  • SWMS documents
  • Automotive mechanical updates
  • Fire Safety
  • Roster Management
  • Herd Management
  • Equipment
  • Incidence reports  
  • Material Safety Data Sheets
  • Staff checklists

There is not much we can’t do at BERTS HQ. We have the new tech; it is reliable, tamper-proof and state of the art.

Do not be the person who is left broken or dying. The one who has to tell Mum and Dad their son or daughter isn’t coming home, or the one who has to explain to his boss that a $50,000 fine is on its way. Don’t be shut down, don’t neglect your mates.

DO be the person who made a difference, helped save lives, improved the standard.

That’s the person we all should be.

Give us a call, it will take 5 minutes. It won’t be a drawn-out sales thing. We aren’t into that. We want to make a difference, and we have the simple solution waiting for you.

1300 237 879 (BERTS WORLD)

To find out more about what we do for the agriculture industry you can also visit here:

https://bertsworld.org/home/agriculture/

*all sources within this document remain anonymous