It’s National Hay Safe Day, and as many in the fodder industry face serious weather challenges and damaging flooding, it is timely to reflect on safe practices when working and living around bales of hay and silage.

“Each year the Australian Fodder Industry Association (AFIA) celebrates National Hay Safe Day to draw attention to safe work practices across the fodder supply chain when working with hay,” said Brad Griffiths, AFIA’s Chair.

The theme of National Hay Safe Day this year is making every day safe around hay.

“In the 2021, 46 farmers died, and 128 suffered injuries as a result of farm accidents according to Farmsafe Australia. These deaths and injuries have devastating ripple effects across families, communities and industries,” he said.

“Machinery and livestock present obvious safety risks on farms, but the fodder industry has additional hazards, like stacking, unstacking, storing and transporting hay and silage,” said Brad.

“Large square hay bales can weigh up to 600 kilograms, so it’s vital to implement safe handling techniques and practices for the safety of you, your workers and your family,” said Brad.

“Workplace health and safety doesn’t have to be onerous. It can happen over a coffee or during a lunch break,” said Brad.

“On our farm in Mallala, South Australia, we have implemented the Safe Ag Systems Software which covers everything – from training and inductions and identifying major hazards and safe practices to mental health and fatigue management resources,” he said.

“Putting safety into practice has resulted on-farm efficiencies and savings but most importantly, it’s kept us all safe,” said Brad.

“Predictions are that we have more wet weather ahead, so why not take the opportunity to implement your own systems and have a chat about your business safety over lunch with your workers?” he concluded.

AFIA has released Fodder Safety Briefs on telehandler safety, traffic management plans and worker training, as well as safety signage as part of recent hay safe initiatives.

National Hay Safe Day is an initiative which arose from a tragic on-farm accident more than a decade ago. After losing her father, AFIA member and director Suzanne Woods, a Western Australian hay grower, started the awareness and education campaign.