Holidays spur reminder of importance of farm safety for children

Holidays spur reminder of importance of farm safety for children

Dairy
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WITH children at home on school holidays and spending more time on and around farms, dairyfarmers are being urged to shine a spotlight on safety.

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SET RULES: Setting clear safety rules about machinery can help reduce on-farm accidents during the holidays.

SET RULES: Setting clear safety rules about machinery can help reduce on-farm accidents during the holidays.

WITH children at home on school holidays and spending more time on and around farms, dairyfarmers are being urged to shine a spotlight on safety.

More then 20 children are fatally injured on Australian farms each year, and in response Dairy Australia has put together some easy-to-use, readily accessible resources.

Of those on-farm child deaths, about 30 per cent are visitors with drowning the major cause for children aged between one and four years old.

Among the tips to help improve safety are to clearly explain safety rules to children and visitors; identify ‘no go’ zones; implement children’s play areas to restrict access to machinery, traffic, livestock and water; secure hazardous areas, such as chemicals, water, dams, effluent ponds and workshops; and install clear directions and signage for children and visitors to follow.

DA program manager Sarah Thompson said children living on and visiting farms during the Christmas period can be exposed to a range of workplace hazards not present in most homes.

“The safety and wellbeing of farm families is too important to let risks and hazards go unaddressed this Christmas,” Ms Thompson said.

“Every accident involving a child on a farm is preventable, and there is no better time to consider safety than during the long summer break.”

With less than a week to go until Christmas Day, DA’s Farm Safety Starter Kit can be used by farmers to conduct a quick safety scan of their property ahead of the holiday period. 

The Farm Safety Manual guides farmers on how to develop a comprehensive safety system, including a chapter on children and visitors, with 50 quick tips and a straightforward checklist. 

Gippsland dairyfarmer Trish Hammond said the resources had helped her put safeguards in place for her three kids, Dane, 10, Amber, 8 and Lara, 6.

Mindful of potential safety risks, Ms Hammond’s children are not allowed in the dairy without a parent present, and children and visitors are supervised at all times.

“We have a number of rules in place to make sure they stay out of harm’s way,” Ms Hammond said.

“We’re very close to a road and my fear has always been that the kids will venture off, so we put in place an ‘invisible line’ the kids are not allowed to cross.

“Effluent ponds are also off limits – they are no go zones and the kids have grown up knowing the ponds are absolutely out of bounds.”

The Farm Safety tools can be accessed at thepeopleindairy.com.au or workshops are available by contacting DairySA.

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