THE Australian Fodder Industry Association (AFIA) is marking National Hay Safe Day today by launching a series of new safety resources with its safety partner Safe Ag Systems.
Three Fodder Safety Briefs on telehandler safety, traffic management plans and worker training have been released today to guide safe work practices.
“Often complacency and fatigue result in accidents and deaths on our farms so this busy period is the perfect time to stop and think about safety,” AFIA chief executive officer Paula Fitzgerald said.
“During these busy months we also need to be mindful that sufficient time has been spent inducting new staff, particularly those unfamiliar with the farm’s operations,” she said.
“The new Fodder Safety Briefs being released today build on AFIA’s safety signage and our existing resources which address working safely when moving, loading and unloading fodder.”
Strong supporters of National Hay Safe Day, Safe Ag Systems chief executive officer, Katy Landt, said the statistics involving hay-related accidents and fatalities represented real people.
“We believe everyone deserves to go home safe, and we are proud to play our part in National Hay Safe Day,” she said.
“Although every day should be Hay Safe, if we can impact safety culture through educational resources, we can contribute to a positive movement in agriculture.”
A 2018 report by Safe Work Australia indicated that on average, the agriculture industry ranked second in terms of fatality rate, accounted for the highest number of fatalities over the last five years; and ranked third in terms of the frequency rate of serious claims.
“Clearly we must focus on reducing fatalities and serious accidents in our sector. National Hay Safe Day is a valuable reminder that safety is non-negotiable in the fodder and broader agriculture sector,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
National Hay Safe Day is an initiative which arose from a tragic on-farm accident more than a decade ago. After losing her father, AFIA member and director Suzanne Woods, a Western Australian hay grower, started the awareness campaign which has evolved into what it is today.
Video focus on hay safety
Fodder feed company, Feed Central, is also playing its part in improving hay safety with the release today of a new video and poster that walks people through the safe delivery, unloading and storing of hay.
Feed Central general manager Cieran Maxwell said the video focused on the safe movement and receival of hay with important safety tips on unloading, stacking and storing of hay.
Mr Maxwell said hay safety sometimes was an overlooked risk.
“There are a number of people injured or killed every year from incidents with hay bales. Forgetting or even letting some of the basic safety essentials slip can cause devastating results,” he said.
“Young families with children need to treat a haystack like a swimming pool; you have to be safe around it.”
Mr Maxwell said the era of high-density balers and heavier bales increased the importance of safety.
“With high-density bales now consistently ranging between 550-750 kilos, if a bale falls on you from any height, you’re unlikely going to survive.”
Mr Maxwell said the video highlighted the need for checking truck loads before removing straps and good practice in moving bales, building stacks and storing bales.
“It’s an area of concern. Any movement of hay bales is risky but when dealing with multiple bales coming off trucks, everyone in the vicinity is further exposed to a higher risk,” he said.
He said farmers, contractors, employees, family and children needed to be aware of safety around hay bales.
“If stacks aren’t made right, falling bales can be extremely dangerous, in this video we talk about getting it right from the start and from the ground up.”
He added that the “look up and live” message about power lines could equally apply to a shed with hay bale stacks.
Mr Maxwell said the more solid bales were made, the safer they were to work with, but that of course relied on the consistency of quality, well-shaped, tight bales.
AFIA safety resources can be found at: https://afia.org.au/resources/#safety
The Feed Central poster and hay safety video are available at: https://www.feedcentral.com.au/hay-safety-day-2021
Safe Ag Systems: https://www.safeagsystems.com/