New safety strategy targets farm deaths and injuries

New safety strategy targets farm deaths and injuries

Safe Hands
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The newly formed Rural Safety and Health Alliance has released its Research, Development and Extension Investment Strategy.

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A cross-sector alliance formed to improve farm safety has launched its first strategy this week as figures show primary industries have eight times the fatality rate of other Australian industries.

Rural Safety and Health Alliance is funded by nine rural research and development corporations and aims to address common safety and health challenges.

The release of the strategy is timed to coincide with the start of Farm Safety Week on Monday.

"The RSHA strategy includes a two-fold approach to collaboratively improve farm safety - impact, such as investing directly in safety solutions and influencing behaviour in the agricultural workplace; and capacity building, including leadership, education and communication to improve safety," said RSHA independent chair Patrick Murphy.

"Together the Alliance addresses a vital need in primary industries which represents only 2.6 per cent of the Australian workforce but accounts for an alarming 21pc of fatalities.

"With the support of the RDC management committee, RSHA is investing in research, development and extension to reduce death, injury and illness on farm and enhance health and wellbeing across all rural industries, including mental health."

AgriFutures Australia's Jennifer Medway hopes a refocused collaborative safety and health agenda will work across industries to ensure research and extension undertaken is practical, innovative and impactful.

"Conservative estimates put the economic impacts of on-farm deaths at $140 million per year," said Ms Medway.

"The RSHA Strategy balances it's focus on those critical risks that are relevant to each of the individual RDCs industries, such as tractor, quad bike, utility, truck, car, motorbike accidents, needlestick injury and chemical exposure, which also have cross-sectoral relevance. Mental health, especially with current conditions, is also a top priority."

Wagga Wagga-based producer Lisa Anderson is the AgriFutures pasture seeds program chair and the regional chair of the Southern NSW Committee of the Southern Australia Livestock Research Council.

She said levy payers across industries were are pleased to see collaboration between the RDCs, particularly on such an important area as improving farm safety for our farmers, families and workers.

"Many of these issues are sector wide and cross industry boundaries and it makes sense to collaborate for the greatest impact ," said Ms Anderson

Mr Murphy said projects could include technology innovation, pre- and post-farm gate supply chain issues, data and reporting, extension, communication and leadership initiatives.

The RDCs involved in RSHA include AgriFutures Australia, Australian Pork Limited, Australian Eggs, Australian Wool Innovation, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Dairy Australia, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Grains Research and Development Corporation and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

Those interested in submitting a preliminary proposal are encouraged to download the RSHA Strategy and register for updates in preparation for the opening of applications.

Australian Community Media will also launch its national farm safety initiative Safe Hands on Monday.

This initiative will see a special 32-page lift-out on farm safety published in the ACM agricultural mastheads - The Land, Queensland Country Life, Stock & Land, Stock Journal, Farm Weekly and the North Queensland Register.

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The story New safety strategy targets farm deaths and injuries first appeared on Farm Online.

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