National Farmers Federation says more must be done to improve attitudes to farm safety

National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) Chief Executive Officer Tony Mahar says a new report into farm safety provides for sobering reading.

Farmsafe Australia’s inaugural report, Safer Farms reveals that more than 200 people have lost their lives on Australian farms in the past 18 months.

The report features data related to on-farm injuries and fatalities and provides a 10-year comparison which looks at the common agents of fatality and injury on farms.

Released today during National Farm Safety Week, Safer Farms identifies the five main causes of fatality and injury, noting animals, heavy machinery and quad bikes as the main contributing factors.

“The NFF recognises farm safety as a crucial, and unfortunately, to often overlooked, aspect of Australian agriculture,” NFF Chief Executive Tony Mahar said.

“The report shows that since 2010, out of the total number of on-farm fatalities, 50% are over 50 years of age and 15% have been children under 15 years of age.

“These numbers must be cause for alarm for farmers and regional communities and highlight the need to do more to protect a farm’s most important asset, its people.”

In addition, the report also provides insight to the challenges related to making farms safer.

The Safer Farms report identifies two key factors that make it difficult to ensure on-farm safety: the first being a lack of work-life balance and the second that ‘clocking off’ isn’t always an option for farmers.

“More often than not, the farm is also the family home. Being a farmer is more than just a job, it’s a way of life,” Mr Mahar said.

“Safer Farms recognises the linkage between farming culture and farm-related injuries and fatalities and shows that there is an urgent need to reshape our communications to address broader safety issues.

Mr Mahar echoed the report’s call to change the conversation around on farm work, health and safety as it looks to achieve its 2030 goal of having Australian farms embrace better safety practices.

“As part of our 2030 Roadmap to see Australian agriculture achieve $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030, the NFF wants to see Australian farms adopt a culture of safety,” Mr Mahar said.

“We have goal for zero farm fatalities by 2030.

“In order to achieve this goal, we must work together with organisations such as Farmsafe to ensure a coordinated approach towards farm safety.”

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