Protection: The Victorian Farmers Federation is focusing on quad bike safety, including rollover protection devices, on Bendigo farms in its briefing dinner later this month. Photo: FILE

Minimising farm risks

July 23, 2021 BY

QUAD bike knowledge is the key theme of this year’s- regional farm safety briefing.

As part of the Victorian Farmers Federation’s Making Our Farms Safer initiative, the free event will be available for farmers on Thursday, 29 July at the All Seasons Hotel at 6.30pm.

Senior farm safety advisor with VFF John Darcy said the topics include the state of knowledge as it applies to quad bikes, skills shortages and related safety issues, and child safety on farms.

He said there are still some farms in Central Victoria that are yet to abide by national requirements to fit “operator protective devices” to quad bikes.

“There are some pockets of Victoria where there’s still some resistance to fitting the protective devices to quad bikes as opposed to other areas where they have embraced it,” he said. “We see these as priority situations.”

According to Farmsafe Australia, since 2001 at least 269 Australians have been killed in quad bike related incidents, with half of these cases the result of rollover.

As a result, the Federal Government requires all quad bikes be fitted with an OPD, which alerts riders to the risk of rollover.

Mr Darcy said another area of concern is skill shortages on farms, especially as many farms have struggled with lower staff numbers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“That’s an issue that’s affected all Victorian farmers, they’re struggling to get workers and they’re making do with what they have and that increases the safety risks,” he said.

“We’re pressing the importance that they make sure that they’re providing adequate inductions, training and obviously the necessary degree of supervision, particularly for younger workers and inexperienced workers.”

Mr Darcy said with overseas backpackers and seasonal workers not available due to COVID-19, inexperienced farmers have been coming from Melbourne with no work to go back to.

“We’ve got a greater degree of inexperience coming to the industry than we’ve had in the past, so that brings with it some increased safety risks,” he said.

Child safety on farms is an ongoing issue, and Mr Darcy said it’s important for homes to have a clear boundary from the farm, and for children to understand the boundaries.

As part of the Making Our Farms Safer Initiative, Victorian farms can arrange a free visit from the safety team to ensure their farm is up to standard.

To book your spot at the safety briefing, head to bit.ly/3rasglD.

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