Rural Women Driving Safety On Farms

It’s a reality – Women play an important role as drivers of safety change on farms, according to Farmsafe Australia Chairman Charles Armstrong and he says this National Farm Safety Week females on farms are key.

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He’s asking women to follow the lead of two South Australian’s who have been busy encouraging rural women to take a leadership role in the on-farm safety space.

“By encouraging localized support groups for farming women, Karen Baines encourages and assists women to implement farm safety systems in their farming enterprises that are tailored to the individual business.”

As a farmer on the Eyre Peninsula, Karen Baines has firsthand experience to share with others.

Mrs Baines says that a key benefit for participants is translating safety learnings into practice on the farm, with support from a like-minded group of women.

“I have found that women are often the best placed in the farming business to effect safety changes”. Women are key to continual safety improvements on farm and having a network of friends, neighbours or sisters in law to discuss safety solutions with, helps women manage the sometimes ‘unenthusiastic’ male members of the business.”

Then there’s recent winner of the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award in South Australia, Alex Thomas.

She’s planning the launch of a social media campaign #PlantASeedForSafety, which will profile and celebrate a minimum of 100 rural women who are making lifesaving changes to safety in primary industries.

Ms Thomas is also encouraging the use of the hashtag: #SaveALifeListenToYourWife.

“My intent is to empower rural women to share their stories of success [in safety], to increase their confidence and to make them more aware of their ability to influence change.”

“It’s about normalizing a safety mindset as simply ‘the way we do things around here’”.

“The ultimate goal in farm safety is not to hurt or kill someone, which is why we need to look beyond compliance with work health and safety obligations to making practical changes that ensure everyone gets home safely after work each day.”

Ms Thomas believes there is no substitute for practical risk management.

“Safety paperwork is merely a last line of defense. Unless the paperwork adds serious value to the way the work is done, I would implore farmers to focus on changing things that really do make a difference. Guards around augers, fences around dams, tool lanyards while working at height.”

“Clear communication protocols when working remotely.”

Further information and some free resources can be found on Ms Baines website

Ms Thomas’s interest in safety is inspired by her experiences as a part time-carer for her father, a former pastoralist, having battled with a number of secondary illnesses after contracting the Q Fever virus over 30 years ago. He contracted the virus while working with feral goats.

If you’d like more information on Ms Thomas’s #PlantASeedForSafety campaign, she can be contacted at