The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework (ABSF) has encouraged the industry not to overlook the critical role that people’s health and wellbeing play in sustainability this Farm Safety Week.
An initiative of Farmsafe Australia, the annual Farm Safety Week brings together the farming community to focus on workplace health and safety. This year’s theme is “Recipe to Avoid Disaster” and will highlight a number of intangible risks and dangers such as fatigue, complacency, the blurred line between home and work, labor shortages and aging workforce, welfare and other issues that can lead to injury and death.
ABSF Sustainability Steering Group (SSG) Chair Mark Davie said key occupational health and safety metrics had been included as indicators in the ABSF, given that people are at the heart of the true sustainability of any industry.
“Farm safety systems can be as simple or as complex as you want, but they’re only useful if you implement them and live them,” Davie said.
“Recipe for Averting Disaster is a great theme, it reminds me of those spontaneous jobs you don’t do every day that can be the most dangerous on the farm, like getting bogged down or fixing machinery.
“I urge anyone working in agriculture to get a Take 5 safety checklist book, keep it in your top pocket or ute, and prepare a quick job safety scan – that five minutes could save your life.
“When ABSF was formed five years ago to drive sustainability in the beef supply chain, it was recognized that the health and well-being of our employees was critical to this journey.
“That’s why one of ABSF’s four themes is People and Community, including key measures to ensure that we as an industry monitor our working practices and continually strive to improve, because one death is one death too many.
“Our definition of health and safety also extends to the life satisfaction of our employees, because we know how important this is for families and mental health.”
The 2022 annual update reported deaths on farms were down based on data from Safe Work Australia. It also showed that beef producers love their jobs. The Overall Life Satisfaction Index is another indicator under the People and Community theme and is calculated based on respondents rating their satisfaction with their “life as a whole” on a scale from zero to 10, multiplied by 10 to give an index of zero to 100. A score of 76.6 was recorded for pastoralists in 2020 compared to the overall life satisfaction of Australians of 70.4 .
“Farming is not just a rewarding and satisfying profession, it is a profession that is often cross-generational,” Mr Davie said.
“But it is a strategy that has inherent risks and ABSF welcomes Farmsafe Australia’s National Farm Safety Education Fund strategy, which aims to significantly reduce deaths and injuries in agriculture by 2030 and aligns with ABSF’s core value of striving for continuous improvement in all that We do.
“By prioritizing health and safety across the beef value chain, we can ensure that Australia will continue to have a sustainable and thriving industry that produces beef in a way that is truly socially, environmentally and economically responsible and that cares for natural resources, people and the community, and the health and welfare of animals.