IT IS the worst year for farm fatalities, after 12 agriculture-related workplace deaths this year, compared to nine last year and seven in 2015.
Most of the fatalities involve experienced farmers.
The youngest farm worker was 38, who died when a quad bike towing a trailer flipped and rolled at Reedy Flat in East Gippsland.
In August, a 55-year-old farmer died when he was crushed against a fence by a bull.
More than half of workplace fatalities in Victoria this year have been on farms and more workers die in the weeks leading up to Christmas than at any other time.
According to WorkSafe statistics, in the past decade, almost 25 per cent of all workplace fatalities occurred in November and December.
“With Christmas just around the corner we know many employers and employees are rushing to meet deadlines and complete projects,” said Marnie Williams, WorkSafe’s executive director of health and safety.
“In agriculture, the grain and hay harvests are in full swing, the construction sector is hard at work as builders, contractors and tradies push to complete projects before the Christmas shutdown, and the manufacturing sector is busy finalising last minute orders.
“We also know that many people are eagerly looking forward to their upcoming holidays and Christmas celebrations, so maybe they are getting distracted from the tasks at hand.
“That is why it is so important for everyone to put safety first, to take care and stay safe at work.”
She said experience doesn’t prevent an injury.
“Year after year we see experienced farmers doing everyday tasks they have done many times before who are getting injured and killed.
“WorkSafe wants the farming community to make safety their number one priority – talk about it every day because it could be a conversation that saves your life, or that of a loved one.”
Farmers urged to put safety first