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More than 40 dairy farmers and service providers at Longwarry and Caldermeade have re-learnt a valuable lesson – it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Farm safety days were recently held at Rocky Murdica’s Longwarry farm and at the Caldermeade Farm and Café.
Co-hosted by GippsDairy, GoTafe, the VFF and WorkSafe, the events were a chance for farmers to update themselves on the latest in farm safety requirements, as well as accessing resources to help them become compliant.
With quad bikes still the number one cause of accidental death among farmers, there was an emphasis on the wearing of helmets and installation of operator protection devices.
GippsDairy workforce co-ordinator Leah Maslen said she was pleased with the way the dairy industry had been reacting to the safety message.
An increasingly regulatory environment meant that farmers were now acutely aware of the financial risks involved in neglecting safety around the farm, as well as failing to keep a written record (also signed off by employees) of their induction and training.
“People are becoming aware that having employees on farm is not simple and you can’t rely on the old ways of a handshake and ‘she’ll be right’ attitude,” Leah said.
“We spoke a lot about inducting staff and is it OK for farmers to train and induct staff themselves.
“The answer is: yes, if you have the experience and knowledge and you are showing them the right way to do things.”
Leah said the message is filtering through the industry, with farmers realising they had to meet safety standards as part of running a modern workplace.
“One farmer was saying he couldn’t afford to do it at the moment, but the message was it doesn’t have to happen overnight, but you do have to make a start,” Leah said.
Dairy Australia Program Manager – Industry Workforce Planning and Action, Bill Youl said the emphasis on safety was about one thing – saving lives.
“The thing that started this off is that six people are killed each year on dairy farms. There shouldn’t be one person killed, which is why Dairy Australia has made this a priority.”
Accredited short courses (in quad bike operation, using chainsaws, etc) are available for employers who want to ensure that appropriate training is provided if they aren’t 100 per cent comfortable to deliver and sign off themselves.
Such courses also help to develop capacity of employees and obtain formal recognition of their skills.
For more information on farm safety visit www.thepeopleindairy.org.au.

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