Farm Safety Grows Healthier Farmers

Safe Work Australia is urging Australian farmers to focus on improving farm safety during National Farm Safety Week.

National Farm Safety Week, an initiative of Farmsafe Australia, aims to raise awareness of farm safety issues in rural communities across Australia. One of the themes of this year's National Farm Safety Week is the safety of older workers. Safe Work Australia's report on work-related injuries found that in the eight years to 2011, 30 percent of fatalities on farms were of workers aged 65 years and over.

In 2013, there were 37 deaths in the country's agriculture industry, with workers in this industry experiencing a fatality rate eight times higher than the rate for all Australian workers.

"National Farm Safety Week is a timely reminder to highlight the importance for farmers and the communities that they live and work in to not become complacent about their own health and safety. There needs to be robust processes in place to protect farmers and those who enter the farm environment," according to Safe Work Australia news release.

As part of this plan, Safe Work Australia is examining exposures to noise, dust, vibration, and chemicals on about 40 mixed grain and sheep or beef farms in Western Australia. The project is being conducted by the Curtin University of Technology and will measure exposures during harvesting, seeding, and fumigation activities and how the exposures are controlled.

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