The New South Wales (NSW) agricultural industry is one of its largest and most important industries, contributing to $11.7 billion in revenue. It is also one of NSW’s highest risk industries, recording 5465 injuries and illnesses, including seven fatalities over the three years to July 2012.
In an effort to reduce the number of incidents and fatalities occurring on farms, the Alive and well campaign was developed. In this campaign farmers are sharing their own personal stories to help highlight issues like the pressure of farming life on mental health, the impact of injury on farm operations and risks to child safety.
The NSW Farmers Alive and well campaign was launched in July 2014 at the NSW Farmers Conference, of which WorkCover NSW was the major sponsor.
The Alive and well campaign features farmers that have experienced or narrowly escaped serious injury on their farms. Having farmers share their personal experiences and giving advice on how to stay safe has proven a powerful way to communicate vital safety messages amongst farming communities.
The initiative aims to change farming community perceptions towards health and safety and focuses on six areas of farm work:
- using machinery
- kids on farms
- what to do if there’s an injury
- depression and mental health
- working with livestock, and
- sun exposure.
This is an example of WorkCover NSW forging productive partnerships with business networks, industry groups and the community to help promote farm safety.
Following the campaign launch, the featured farmers have been attending agriculture industry events across the state and speaking about how their experiences affected them. A video booth at all events allows farmers to share their experiences and upload videos to the Alive and well website.
The Alive and well website features a variety of farmers’ stories as well as links to advice and support on safe farming.
More information on farm safety is available on the WorkCover NSW website.