Dollars key to farm safety

28 Apr, 2004 10:00 PM
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FINANCIAL rewards were the key ingredient in getting farmers to adopt the principles of farm safety, agricultural consultant Bob Hall said at a farm safety forum last week.

Mr Hall said all the quality assurance schemes placed on the agricultural industries had failed because they did not reward compliant producers.

And occupational health and safety in the bush would also fail, unless it offered some tangible incentive beyond "you're not going to die".

"I don't know what your incentive is, but I know what mine is," Mr Hall said. "It's money, and I suspect for most farmers it would be the same."

He said lower premiums and waved stamp duty for the insurance of FarmSafe-certified producers could attract farmers to the cause.

"We've heard the figures already: $300 million a year lost as a result of lost-time injuries," he said.

"It's time for the Government and the insurance companies to put in place some incentives because it's going to save them money if they do."

He said farm safety went beyond the prevention of injuries and deaths.

"Our average client these days is a large farming family, it's not the average cocky of days-gone-by who wasn't worth suing if you could," he said.

"These people have got a lot of staff and millions of dollars worth of assets; it's asset protection this farm safety business, let's be honest."

He said WorkSafe and its farm affiliate FarmSafe needed to reconsider their approach to regulation.

"WorkSafe talks in qualifiers, what's appropriate, what's adequate, suitable or satisfactory," he said.

"Well it's always satisfactory until someone gets hurt, and then it's not.

"There needs to be some system to determine what's satisfactory and I believe a panel of peers can do that.

"The lessons from those failed QA programs is to keep it simple, get the simple things right then work from there.

"Give farmers a lot of assistance and keep the costs down, it's no good having an auditor come from Perth to do a job a local could."

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