Watching out for little farmers

The State Government had sought community feedback on quad bike usage and will consider it for 2023. Picture supplied.

Growing up on a farm is great fun.

There’s oodles of space to run around, and lots of animals to care for… and what little boy (or girl for that matter) doesn’t love a tractor?

But it’s also a high-risk working environment – fraught with danger – and if the latest statistics are anything to go by, it’s time we all took heed.

According to the 2022 Non-Intentional Farm-Related Incidents in Australia Report, 14 percent of on-farm fatalities since 2001 were children under the age of 15.

Although drowning remains the greatest risk for youngsters on farms, quad bikes, side-by-sides, motorbikes, and tractors feature heavily in injury and fatality reports in this age group.

As a mother myself, it doesn’t bear thinking about.

At AgForce we talk about safety every chance we get, and as part of our recent Farm Safety Week campaign, we took the opportunity to highlight the risks involved with little farmers who play in the workplace.

By implementing simple precautions and fostering a safety-conscious culture on the farm, we can ensure the well-being of our children, and prevent injuries and fatalities from occurring.

Some of the tips from leading ag safety advocate Farmsafe Australia include establishing boundaries where children are allowed to play safely (with ‘no-go zones’ designated for operating tractors and machinery),

educating anyone who visits your farm of the risks, and teaching kids to appreciate and respect the power of farm vehicles.

Above all, please remember – active supervision is essential, especially when machinery is in operation.

Agriculture continues to be one of our nation’s most important industries – but it also remains one of our most dangerous – and protecting our little people must be at the forefront of our minds at all times.

What’s more, we need to continue to educate our kids about safety, provide information and resources to them and their families, and hopefully, raise a much more safety-conscious generation, who will enjoy their

childhood on the farm and one day take over the workload themselves.