A Victorian-wide farm workplace health and safety service will be expanded after a $3 million State Government grant.
The Victorian Farmers Federation is the recipient of a Making our Farms Safer grant.
The initiative aims to improve on-farm health and safety and will allow the VFF to employ two farm safety officers, develop online tools and boost access to information and resources aimed at protecting Victorian farmers and everyone in a farm environment.
VFF president David Jochinke said the health and safety of everyone on farms was the top priority, with workers, families and farmers all exposed to the farm-based dangers.
"Safety on farms is paramount, because it concerns the wellbeing of our workers, families and ourselves," he said.
"The agricultural sector is one of the most dangerous workplaces in Victoria, not just for farmers, but everyone present on the farm.
"As a father, there can be no bigger priority in a parent's life than the health and well-being of your child. It's incredibly tragic that children under the age of 15 make up more than 15 per cent of preventable death and injuries on farms," he said.
VFF chief executive officer Stephen Sheridan said his group has been lobbying and working with the government to address the farm sector's higher than average workplace accident rates and commended the initiative.
"The VFF believes that developing and providing an industry led farm safety service is a far more effective way to achieve on-farm practice change", he said.
"The VFF is not a regulator, but is a farmer led organisation that understands the real health and safety issues facing farmers, and the need to help provide a means to manage and reduce the inherent health and safety risks, rather than simply focus on compliance.
"We already provide expert workplace relations services and it is a natural extension to integrate this with on-farm health and safety tools and services."
Mr Sheridan said the VFF would be employing farm safety officers to work directly with farmers to help identify potential safety issues.
"And to introduce best practice safety processes to help safeguard workers, families and farmers on the farm," he said.
"We are also commencing development of an online platform of tools and information to complement our existing workplace relations offer for farmers," Mr Sheridan said.
The VFF will provide further information on how farmers can access the Making our Farms Safer resources as and when they become available.
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