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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.”