11 December 2001
Farms can be fun places for kids to spend their holidays but we must never forget they are primarily a workplace. Aware
of the dangers, farmers develop safe work practices to minimise the risk. But to the uninitiated, the attractions of the
farm can be extremely dangerous.
Federated Farmers Board member, Colin Bull says, "Children visiting farms can become very excited with the prospect of a
new adventure. Farmers need to take this into account."
"Farm injury statistics clearly point to the dangers facing children living on and visiting farms. For instance contact
with unguarded power take-off shafts, belts, pulleys and augers result in instant and. often, permanent damage.
"Exposure to chemicals can also cause substantial injury to the inquisitive. The solution is to ensure all chemicals are
locked away safely.
"Children love the prospect of riding on tractors, farm bikes and horses. As a rule, if there is one seat on a tractor,
there should be only one person on the tractor- the operator. Children must be kept well away from moving machinery. Too
frequently, children are run over by farm vehicles.
Federated Farmers encourages farmers to ensure young children are supervised and all machinery is guarded.
"It is up to us as farm managers; to take responsibility to protect children from the dangers of farm machinery. Young
children and machinery don't mix.
"It is a risk to allow small children to drive ATV's as they may not have the required body weight to control these
machines effectively. Farmers are strongly encouraged to ensure riders wear protective equipment, particularly a helmet
during any recreational riding of ATVs or horses."
"Holidays on farms should be enjoyed right to the end. Hospital is no place to have a holiday," Mr Bull said.