Time to put our farms in Safe Hands

SAFE HANDS: Pick up your 32-page farm safety guide in the July 25 edition of The Land, Queensland Country Life, Stock & Land and Stock Journal.

SAFE HANDS: Pick up your 32-page farm safety guide in the July 25 edition of The Land, Queensland Country Life, Stock & Land and Stock Journal.

Already this year, 34 Australians have lost their lives in farm accidents.

It's a shocking statistic and one that makes agriculture, combined with fishing and forestry, the most dangerous occupation in the country.

Over the past week, Australian Community Media has been highlighting the very real and deadly dangers lurking in agriculture through our Safe Hands campaign.

This national initiative, launched on Monday night at the Ag Safe Conference in Brisbane, saw ACM this week publish a special 32-page lift out in its agricultural mastheads including The Land, Queensland Country Life, Stock & Land and Stock Journal.

Timed to coincide with Farm Safety Week, this special publication features the personal stories of those impacted by farming accidents along with information on the latest innovations, research and initiatives being undertaken to improve farm accident rates.

ACM national agricultural news editor, Penelope Arthur, said it was the second year that ACM had run the Safe Hands campaign.

"Every now and then, a story or a campaign comes along that really makes you stop and think. For me, that's Safe Hands," she said.

Penelope Arthur, Richmond Downs, Roma, is the Australian Community Media National Agricultural News Editor.

Penelope Arthur, Richmond Downs, Roma, is the Australian Community Media National Agricultural News Editor.

"We all know farms are dangerous places. Many, including myself, choose to live on a farm and raise our children there. It is my heartfelt hope that publications and campaigns like Safe Hands continue to play a role in raising awareness of the many dangers on farms so more lives can be saved and injuries avoided."

Ms Arthur said the statistics around farm safety were alarming.

"Since 2001, more than 1400 people have lost their life on a farm due to a non-intentional injury," she said.

"In the past six months along, 34 people have died in farm accidents in Australia. Of those deaths, quad bikes accounted for seven, tractors three, and motorbikes three.

"Males were involved in 33 of these cases (97.7 per cent) and six deaths involved children aged under 15 years."

Ms Arthur said many farming organisations and industry groups were trying to tackle the issue of farm safety but all acknowledged that more needed to be done.

Readers can get a copy of the Safe Hands lift out in this week's edition of the following newspapers; The Land, Queensland Country Life, Stock & Land, North Queensland Register, Farm Weekly and Stock Journal.