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Making farms safer

Only 3 percent of Queenslanders work on farms, but that’s where 30 percent of workplace deaths occur – something a conference hosted by James Cook University will try to remedy.

JCU’s Associate Professor Richard Franklin is Chair of the Farmsafe Conference Committee and will oversee the three-day meeting in Townsville.

“The theme is ‘Innovative, Safe and Healthy’ and will bring people together to explore how we can make – and are making – farming safer in Australia.

“We’ll be looking at the challenges and opportunities we are seeing in farm health and safety and the great innovations which are helping improve and shape farming,” he said.

Keynote speakers will talk about how to avoid catching diseases from animals, how to dispose of animal waste safely, the use of chemicals on farms, electrical safety and drowning prevention.

Dr Franklin said the first day in one of the conference rooms will be devoted solely to quad bike safety.

“It’s a very pressing issue. In the first nine months of 2017, 45 people died due to quad bike accidents on farms and 144 were injured. We’ve produced research that shows people gravely underestimate how dangerous quad bikes are,” he said.

Amy Peden, JCU PhD student and National Manager Research and Policy at the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia, will speak on drowning prevention on farms and in rural communities.

“Nationally, in the 16 years till 30 June 2018, 131 children under five drowned in outer regional, rural or remote areas. 44 percent of these were in rural hazards such as rivers, dams, tanks and troughs. There has been a reduction in toddler drowning on farms in recent years, however, drowning is still the number one cause of child farm fatalities in Australia,” she said.

Ms Peden said she was looking forward to discussing Royal Life Saving’s Respect the River and Keep Watch @ The Farm drowning prevention initiatives with conference delegates and collaborating with others to develop evidence-based solutions during the Rural Drowning Prevention Forum.

The conference will run from Wednesday October 3 2018 to Friday October 5 2018 at the Ville Resort in Townsville.

Source: JCU

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