SafeWork NSW will visit sheep and beef cattle farms across NSW this month to see how safety is improving.

SafeWork undertook a three year safety project with the sheep and beef cattle farming industry to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses and improve injury management following 1,514 injuries in the three years to July 2010 at a cost of $41 million  to the NSW workers compensation scheme.

During the project SafeWork NSW provided $18 million in safety rebates which led to more than $30 million in safety improvements on farms across the state.

The visits are part of SafeWork’s efforts to gauge how farmers have used the program to take a more pro-active approach to managing work health and safety on farms.

As well as the visits, SafeWork NSW will survey 300 farmers to better understand their awareness of major safety issues and get their ideas on other ways to improve farm safety.

Executive Director of SafeWork NSW, Peter Dunphy said SafeWork NSW was committed to helping the State’s sheep and beef cattle farms improve safety.

“SafeWork NSW works with the State’s highest risk industries to improve work health and safety and return to work outcomes,” Mr Dunphy said.

“The visits and surveys are part of our efforts to develop sustainable improvements to safety, injury management, return to work and workers compensation so that rural workplaces are safer and more productive.

“Farmers and farm workers have proven that they are well placed to develop work health and safety solutions and we want to learn how the project has helped them, as well as connect them with other products and services that can help them improve safety.”

During the visits, SafeWork also hopes to identify a number of real-life examples of farms that have made safety improvements which have made the farm more efficient and improved its competitiveness.

Farmers that receive a visit may be eligible for a rebate of up to $500 through SafeWork’s Small Business Rebate Program which can be used to purchase and install safety improvements. Farmers may also be eligible for rebates of up to $500 towards the purchase of compliant helmets, operator protective devices, training courses or the purchase of a safer vehicle through the NSW Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program.

For further information on farm safety call 13 10 50 or visit safework.nsw.gov.au and aliveandwell.com.au, SafeWork’s dedicated farm safety website.

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