Farmers are being asked to enforce extra safety measures during COVID-19 Alert Level 4 in a bid to keep out of hospitals and the emergency departments.
With farmers across the country battling drought – stress and fatigue can creep in which are major causes of accidents and on farm fatalities.
And with the weight of feeding the world on their shoulders, Safer Farms is reminding farmers to stop, take a second and breathe, so that everyone can make sound decisions.
“Agriculture is an essential industry but that doesn’t give us superpowers,” says Safer Farms General Manager Tony Watson.
“The cause of injuries and fatalities on the farm isn’t likely to change as we have to keep working and work even harder.”
Watson wants farmers to think about the Emergency Departments and doctors surgeries which are already stretched.
“Accident and Emergency departments are the last place you want yourself, your family or your staff right now so please, please don’t clog the health system with preventable injuries,” he begs.
He wants people to think about what could go wrong in the jobs that they’re doing on the farm, what they are doing about it, and ask themselves is that enough.
“Getting injured while the country is in lockdown will have a huge impact on your farm, business and family so just take a moment to think about what you’re doing and reduce the risk.”
With Alert Level 4 putting more isolation pressures on already isolated communities and farmers, it’s also imperative to stay in touch with each other, he says.
“Pick up the phone, call a neighbour, video call your friends, family and loved ones. Have a yarn over the fence but maintain that two metre social distancing.”
“There’s a bloody big job ahead of us – the world needs farmers right now, more than they have ever needed us before so we all need to make decisions every day that keep us safe.”
Safer Farms’ messages for staying safe on the farm are:
- Think about the jobs you’re about to do on the farm that have potential to injure or worse.
- Take 10 seconds to visualise yourself doing the job and think about how to make sure it goes right.
- Vaccinating stock – slow down, restrain stock, use the right equipment and don’t put syringes in your pocket. Let’s avoid needle sticking ourselves.
- Sheep in the yards? Let them settle before working them. Be aware of the stock flight zones and escape routes, look out for things like sticks, stones, pinecones that could knock you off your balance. Let’s preserve our ankles and our knees.
- Harvesting and feeding out – slow down. Make sure the equipment is maintained and the operator is good to.
- Think about the non-urgent jobs that are potentially risky like dropping the old man pine tree for firewood. Do you really have to do it right now? Delay it if you can.