WorkSafe is pleading with farmers in the middle of harvesting not to take risks ahead of heavy rains and flash flooding which are forecast to hit much of the state in coming days.

 The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for all of Victoria, with potentially record breaking rains forecast to begin tomorrow morning and continue until Sunday evening.

WorkSafe Head of Hazardous Industries and Industry Practice Michael Coffey said it was important that farmers planned ahead and did not make hasty decisions as they hurried to finish their harvesting.

“Many farmers are deep into their harvest and the forecasts of heavy rains and flash flooding will see many of them doing all they can to get their crops in,” Mr Coffey said.

“But rushing to do the job can lead to fatigue which, in turn, can lead to bad decisions.

“Given the approaching bad weather, farmers and contractors might also be calling on family members and their friends to pitch in at short notice. But if these people are inexperienced or aren’t given appropriate training, the chances of something going wrong, and people getting hurt or killed, is high.”

Mr Coffey also urged the farming community to take particular care if flooding takes place over the next few days.

“Don’t attempt to cross flooded waterways and most importantly, do not let children play in flooded waterways,” he said.

So far this year, there have been 23 workplace fatalities. Twelve of these have occurred on farms.

“We are calling on all farmers to plan ahead and think carefully about the decisions they make over the next few days,” he said.

“Nothing is more important than your life, and that of your workers, so please don’t cut corners with safety.”