Agriculture learning networks boost safety support

Primary producers in cropping and horticulture can now join two free agriculture networks to collaborate with industry partners on prevention-led approaches to health and safety.


The peer-to-peer networks are led by horticulture education company, Velisha Education Group (VEG), and agricultural consultation and communications service, ORM, with funding provided by WorkSafe.

VEG and ORM will use their extensive links in the agriculture community to work with industry partners, farmers and growers to share knowledge and help make on-farm changes to prevent fatalities and injuries.

VEG Managing Director Catherine Velisha said she is keen to pay forward the help and support she had received as a business owner.

"I have had my own business struggles and issues around safety," Ms Velisha said.

"I was so lucky that I was connected with supportive solution-focused people, and now I want to become that person for someone else."

ORM Senior Agribusiness Consultant Jane Foster said they wanted to see greater uptake of improved safety practices.

"We believe that the most important legacy we can leave to future generations of farmers and their families is a safer workplace," Ms Foster said.

"The safety learning network supports us to lead a community-based approach to tackling the workplace safety challenges that exist on farms."

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said it was a valuable opportunity to bring primary producers, industry leaders and experts together to develop initiatives that boost safety and productivity on farms.

"It's about collaboration – working together on practical and tailored ways to improve safety on farms," Dr Beer said.

"Farmers and growers can work with the networks to identify ways to better manage risks and incorporate prevention-focused safety systems into their daily operations.

"Maximising the benefit for primary producers is one of the program's key priorities – reducing workplace harm has flow-on effects for business, including better staff retention and increased productivity."

Dr Beer said each network will focus on a specific industry, giving businesses access to support and resources relevant to their operation.

The Victorian Fresh Produce Network concentrates on the horticultural industry, and will consist of four regional hubs from across key Victorian growing areas.

The Safer Farms Families & Futures network will focus on the cropping industry.