Adelaide-based Safety Consultant Alex Thomas has been awarded the 2018 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, earning a bursary of $10,000 to launch her ‘Plant a Seed for Safety’ social media campaign.
Having spent her formative years on Parnaroo Station near Yunta, Ms Thomas has first hand experience of the difficulties faced by farming families and the role that workplace health and safety plays in farm sustainability.
Thirty years ago, her father contracted Q-Fever from goats, which – combined with drought conditions and a marriage breakdown – resulted in the family property being sold. The situation inspired Ms Thomas to pursue a career in workplace health and safety with a goal of helping other families to avoid a similar fate.
‘The fatality rate for a work-related injury in agriculture is eight times higher than the national average and because women are key influences in their businesses, communities and family, they have a capacity to push change,’ she said.
She stresses that practical on-farm change – rather than being bogged down in paperwork – is key in implementing workplace health and safety performance.
‘It’s already been proven in other industries that safety paperwork doesn’t necessarily save lives. In order to seriously reduce the number of work-related fatalities in agriculture – we need to focus on fixing what it is that’s actually killing people’.
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