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Occupational Health and Safety on Australian Farms: 3. Safety Climate, Safety Management Systems and the Control of Major Safety Hazards

Occupational Health and Safety on Australian Farms: 3. Safety Climate, Safety Management Systems and the Control of Major Safety Hazards

Australian Farm Business Management Journal 13: 18-35

The Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety established a longitudinal study of 335 NSW farm enterprises to derive data on farm health and safety management and how it relates to farmer perceptions. The analysis reported in this paper benchmarked the perceptions of the study informants on the role and importance of health and safety on their farms and reviewed the safety performance of the study enterprises, focusing on management of safety systems and processes and control of major risks and hazards on their farms. The results not only challenged some apparent misconceptions, such as older farmers having more negative attitudes towards farm safety than younger farmers, but it also identified industries from within the study population that are performing well in the management of safety and the possible reasons behind their success. Importantly, it also observed an area of disconnect between having a positive attitude towards farm safety and its role and importance, and actually implementing farm safety systems and management processes on the farm. These findings provide evidence for the possible benefits of tailoring farm initiatives and interventions based on gender, age and industry. Set beside other analyses of the changes farmers had made on their farms, the prompts and drivers for making those changes, and the issues and risks that the farmers see as important on their own farms, a wealth of information is available to health and safety researchers, Farmsafe Australia, work safety authorities and industry bodies to direct and prioritise their research programs and policy initiatives.

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