Farm safety in spotlight in order to minimise property dangers

DAIRY farmers are being urged to shine a spotlight on safety these school holidays as children spend more time on and around farms.

More than 20 children are fatally injured on Australian farms each year and to help address this, Dairy Australia has made available an easy-to-use, readily accessible, suite of resources for dairy farmers.

Farms pose various risks to children and sadly 30pc of on-farm child deaths are visitors.

Tragically, drowning is still the major cause of death on farms for children aged between one and four years old.

The Dairy Australia Farm Safety Starter Kit can be used by farmers to conduct a quick safety scan of their property.

The 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.

Dairy Australia program manager Sarah Thompson said children living on and visiting farms over the Christmas period could 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.”

Gippsland dairy farmer Trish Hammond said the resources had helped her put safeguards in place for her three children, 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 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.”

Dairy farmers can access Dairy Australia’s farm safety tools at or register for workshops by contacting their local regional development program.