In most child environments, children would never have access to machinery, chemicals, dams, motorbikes etc. On farms, however, not only are children introduced to these hazards but often also unsupervised. With agriculture being a family-oriented industry, often unsupervised children on farms are unavoidable. Between 2010 and 2015 over 2,000 children were hospitalised due to incidents that occurred on farms.
Although, many adults that were raised on farms would agree that it can be a good lifestyle for children and help to teach them valuable life skills. Farms can and should be a place for children, albeit with suitable risk mitigation strategies.
Here are some strategies that farms can implement to reduce the risks of children being injured on farms:
- Before bringing children to the farm, ensure the Farm Manager is notified.
- When children are residing on the farm, lock workshops, silos and other high-risk facilities that are within 1km from the residential areas.
- When children under 5 years old are residing on the farm, consider installing fencing around residential properties.
- When transporting children on the farm, ensure they appropriately restrained. Children are not to ride in the back of a ute.
- Children are not to operate machinery.
- When first bringing children to the farm, consider providing the children with an orientation of the farm’s facilities including safe and non-safe areas.
- Where possible, design farms so that dams are greater than 1km from residential areas, or ensure children are supervised when around dams.
- When allowing children to ride motorbikes or ATVs, always check the manufacturer’s age recommendations and ensure only the correct vehicle is selected.
- Children under 16 years old are not to ride ATVs.
- When children are riding motorbikes or ATVs, ensure they are supervised whilst learning, operate the vehicles in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and wear the appropriate PPE such as helmets, pads etc.
ProcessWorx has just finished developing a new Farm Work Health & Safety System that together with ProcessWorx’s support will greatly assist farmers to meet their WHS duty of care under the new WHS legislation.