Child Safety on Farms
All farm business have an obligation under law to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees, contractors, family, visitors and members of the public. Managing risk to achieve a safe workplace and home is a vital part of running a dairy farm.Children on farms can be exposed to a variety of workplace hazards not present at most homes.
Dairy farmers must play it safe when it comes to children on their properties. Child safety must be considered when devising a code of conduct, workplace health and safety procedures and when inducting new employees.
The positive message of getting it right ("this is what we expect" via a code of conduct or statement of policies/protocols) must be underpinned by making it very clear the consequences of not doing it, i.e. a zero tolerance disciplinary procedure.
Where do you start?
Farmsafe have 3 great publications that specifically deal with children on farm:
- Child Safe Play Areas on Farms flyer which explains safe play areas and how to apply
this on your farm (2pgs)
- Farm Safety on Rural Properties checklist (2pgs)
- Child Safety on Farms booklet (24pgs)
There are some great ideas to help get the safety issue 'on the radar' and tips about things to check and do. E.g, the check list could be talked through at a staff meeting to open conversations about things both the employer and employee could do, as well as the things each expect.
This adds to the positive part of getting it right. For example, a designated safe play area might be needed and is something that could take a bit of working out by everyone on the farm.
- Safety Protocols template which covers a lot of detail. There is a 'spot to sign' at the bottom - this
would be evidence that you have been through the elements the farm team has on the list.
- Safety Protocols for Children is a single list just for kids which could be good to start with.
- Code of Conduct is more general than safety, but provides a good start.
- Safety induction for visitors can be useful if you have people coming onto the farm.