This week the 21 st – 26 th of July is National Farm Safety week. This week is held every year to
raise awareness for farm safety issues across Australia. The week provides an opportunity
for Farmsafe Australia to address farm safety issues that have a national focus. Farm safety
is a massive issue for the health of our farmers and is something that often gets pushed
Why is it often pushed aside you ask?
Farmers are often rushing and wanting to get jobs finished quicker so can take short cuts. They are often tired and fatigued and we know when we are tried our judgement is lacking and can then result in a bad decision which then can result in an accident. And I’m sure you’ve all heard before “I’ve been doing it for years” and they assume accidents won’t happen to them, but it can.
“In 2015 – 16, the Australian agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries accounted for 23% of all work-related fatalities – 93% of which were men.”
Last week I was lucky enough to speak to Alex Thomas an amazing young rural lady who is taking giant leaps to make improvements for work health and safety in rural industries. Alex is a pastoralists daughter who is a fierce advocate for all things agriculture. She is also a part-time carer for her disabled father and is passionate about empowering rural women and preserving the health and safety of those in rural industries.
Alex focuses on rural women as she sees they are the unsung heroes of rural industries as well as being more careful around taking risks and women are more open to change and improvements. Rural women are often the ‘new kids on the block’, they haven’t been doing it for years and can offer an alternative perspective. Alex has a section on her website called ‘stories’, it’s a place for women to tell their untold stories about worth health and safety. She believes that paperwork doesn’t necessarily save lives, but rural women who are prepared share when things go right and share their stories for others to lean.
Alex’s three tips to making a positive change to improving safety?
“1. Understand your power to influence. YOU are the expert on your partner, your business, your community and your industry. Change is already happening. Be curious, connected and confident in your role to lead change.”
“2. Focus on the big stuff! Don’t waste your time and money on creating mountains of paperwork that doesn’t necessarily add any value. You know what it is that ‘doesn’t feel quite right’ about the way the work is done, and I know you’re already well aware that some things could be done better… safer. Guards around augers. Fences around dams. Roll-over protection on quad bikes and conversations about mental health. Take action on the things that could actually save a life.”
“3. #PlantASeedForSafety! TALK to your partner, your workers, your contractors, the neighbour, the grower group, the industry association – anyone and everyone – about what it is that needs to be done in order to save lives. Start a conversation that will eventually make it ‘not cool’ to be unsafe or to take short-cuts.”
“Thirty years ago, nobody wore seatbelts – and today? We do it without even thinking about it. Start a conversation about what’s working well, what’s not working well and what could be done better… safer. #PlantASeedForSafety… and blokes? #SaveALifeListenToYourWife!”
Wow what an inspiring young lady. This gave me goose bumps speaking to Alex about #PlantASeedForSaftey campaign and is has inspired me to have conversations with my partner about farm safety and what changes we can make together. Make sure you follow her on her social media accounts below to keep up to date with what she’s up to and when you’re on her website make sure you fill out your own story to help make a change.
Website – https://plantaseedforsafety.com
Twitter – @AlexThomasPL
Instagram – @plantaseedforsafety