Dairy company honoured at 2021 WorkSafe Awards

One of Australia's largest milk producers, Aurora Dairies, has become the inaugural winner of WorkSafe’s farm safety honour.


The company was applauded for its efforts in boosting health and safety in the agriculture industry in front of more than 350 people at WorkSafe Awards ceremony last week.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said the new Commitment to Workplace Health and Safety on a Farm award acknowledged those who have made tangible improvements on their farms.

"Whether it's everyday achievements, creative thinking or innovative practices, this award recognises farmers who've made a significant contribution to the health and safety of their workplace."

Aurora Dairies was honoured for using low-cost technology, including geo-fencing and GPS tracking, to improve safety for quadbike operators on 25 of its farms across Victoria.

Since introducing the new system, the company has seen a significant reduction in quad bike speeds and access to steep and potentially dangerous terrain.

Two other finalists for the farm safety award were also recognised for their unique contributions towards workplace health and safety.

They included Stonyhurst Pastoral, which switched to drone-driven mustering of its 13,000 sheep and 500 cattle after a serious motorbike incident, improving both safety and efficiency.

Velisha National Farms was nominated for its commitment to improving understanding of health and safety among culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) workers by setting up an induction program to communicate safety messaging through images and videos.

The celebration of safe and innovative farming practices came as WorkSafe's agriculture campaign It's never you, until it is makes a return to screens.

The campaign uses emotional storytelling to drive home the simple message that a workplace tragedy can happen to anyone who does not prioritise health and safety.

Agriculture remains one of the state's most dangerous industries, accounting for about 14 per cent of workplace fatalities while only making up two per cent of the state’s workforce.

Dr Beer said tragically, 26 people had died in on-farm workplace incidents since 2019, including three so far this year.

"These statistics show the dire need for improvement in the agriculture industry, and we hope these success stories encourage more workplaces to think about how they can take a prevention-led approach towards health and safety,” she said.

In total, the 2021 WorkSafe Awards crowned eight winners out of 23 finalists across a number of industries, chosen from more than 180 nominees.

Dr Beer said every winner and finalist should be congratulated for their exceptional efforts in boosting health and safety in the workplace.

"It's so heartening to know that there are so many Victorian workers who are leading the way in workplace health and safety, and setting positive examples for others in their industry."