Farmsafe Australia’s recently launched campaign, ‘Farming Not Harming’, aims to remind farmers of the roles they play in crafting safe working environments on their farms, including becoming mentors, teachers and supporters to mitigate psychosocial risks on farms.
Farmsafe Australia’s Chairman Charles Armstrong explains, “Farmers are generally aware of the physical risks and hazards on their farms, but there are less obvious risks that are important to draw attention to as well.
“Psychosocial risks such as high work demands, bullying, isolation, and even having little control over the weather or the market are often the source of high levels of stress. High-stress environments can contribute to or even cause, work-related incidents that may lead to serious injury or even fatality.”
The agricultural sector remains one of Australia’s most dangerous workplaces, where farmers must, under WHS legislation, provide healthy and safe working environments for their employees.
“Whether they realise it or not, farmers and managers are shaping the workplace culture on their farms through their actions and behaviours. By role modelling safe and supportive practices, having zero tolerance for bullying and harassment, and shaping a strong safety culture on-farm, you ensure that your workers know that you take your obligations seriously. And you may also improve your productivity.” Mr Armstrong commented.
Commissioned by Safe Work Australia, the Australian Workplace Barometer Report found that depression costs Australian employers an estimated $8 billion every year on average, through sick leave and/or loss of productivity due to working while sick. Job strain and workplace bullying amounted to $693 million of that figure.
The Farmsafe website has a range of resources and information available to farmers and their employees, including a new workplace guide ‘Creating a Safe, Healthy and Productive Farm’ which is part of the Farming Not Harming campaign. The guide aims to help farmers navigate some of the less obvious risks and hazards, including psychosocial risks. The guide can be downloaded from the Farmsafe Australia website here.