By Lachlan Polkinghorne

Have you ever been lectured to about farm safety?  Statistics published recently show us that it is one of the most dangerous occupations – incredible isn’t it.  Such a sedate activity yet seemingly so dangerous.

I have a relative who is an experienced pilot. At one time he travelled the country providing briefings to other pilots on the subject of safety. The causes of aircraft accidents always interest me, particularly as I fly commercially regularly. The common factor in all accidents is that there is always a combination of factors which lead to the accident – it is not just one single event. Lack of preparation, change in weather events, pilot running late and hurried, too much weight, poor personal judgement, too much air in the fuel lines – all factors which if combined, can lead to an accident.

Farming accidents are the same. Many years ago I was a witness and active participant in a tractor rollover. We all lived to tell the tale but incorrect ballast, incorrect hitch, and some inexperienced operators combined to produce a spectacular result – it all happened very quickly as accidents do. It is the system and environment which sets up the accident.

There is a certainty in all of this. OHS is going to become a compliance requirement. Just as most of us are required to submit a tax return and substantiate our financial information, farmers will be required to submit an annual audit of OHS systems in their businesses.