WorkSafe inspector Michael Vanderzalm with Jelbart farm employee Piero Laera and GippsDairy workforce coordinator Leah Maslen at the safety day at Jelbarts’ Pound Creek farm.

MAKING sure everyone goes home safely was the message from GippsDairy’s farm safety day at Pound Creek last week.
More than 30 people turned out on a cold and wet day at the Jelbart farm to learn more about how they can protect themselves, their family and their staff from the many risks associated with a working farm. Co-hosted by GippsDairy, GOTAFE 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 coordinator Leah Maslen said many dairy farmers at the event were surprised at how easily vehicle safety can be compromised.
“It was a real eye-opener for some people when we had the discussion on the unpredictability of quad bikes and how easy it can be to tip them over,” she said.
WorkSafe Inspector Michael Vanderzalm said that the main cause of death on quad bikes is asphyxiation, caused when users are trapped under bikes that have rolled over.
He said that, although quad bikes can be a convenient way of spraying weeds or carrying fencing gear around, operators need to be more aware of the load capacity of their quad bike and the adverse effect extra weight can have on handling and stability.
Another important topic discussed on the day was the proper induction of staff in relation to safety procedures. Formal induction is about making sure everyone knows what is expected of them, so they can look after themselves and make sure everyone can get through the working day safely.
Accredited short courses (in quad bike operation, using chainsaws, etc) are available for employers wanting to ensure 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.
To develop your skills in the safe operation of farm equipment, chemicals and to obtain licenses, contact GOTAFE industry trainer Jillian Goudie on 0439 036 772.
For more information on farm safety go to www.thepeopleindairy.org.au