Ensuring everyone gets home safely this harvest

Demi Taylor

On October 20, BCG hosted a Pre-Harvest Day in Kooloonong attracting 70 growers, farm managers, farm hands, seasonal workers, and industry representatives from across Victoria including Mildura, Swan Hill, Manangatang, Natya, Chinkapook, Culgoa, and Bendigo.

The purpose of the event was to provide attendees with crucial pre-start and safety information to be better prepared for the upcoming harvest period.

The event facilitated by Carmen Quade of Agrifocused covered key topics such as first aid and fatigue, fire prevention and management, safety around storage and truck compliance and requirements.

Expert presenters included the likes of John Darcy (VFF), Chris Warrick (Stored Grain Australia), Bernie Phelan and Matthew Whitelum (NHVR), Melissa Burge, Gavin Wright and Kevin Ryan (CFA), and Simone Murdoch and Paula Connor (local Registered Nurses) speaking on topics of first aid, fatigue management, fire prevention and management, and safety around storage.

With support from John Darcy (VFF Senior Farm Safety Officer), local growers Ben Arentz, Alistair Murdoch and Simon Craig also presented sessions on pre-start harvest checks and common safety hazards surrounding machinery operations.

The three F’s as key takeaways: Fire safety, First aid & Fatigue


Fire Safety:

  • Backing off your ground speed one or two kilometers per hour can reduce temperatures to below ignition point.
  • When inspecting your harvester, pay particular attention to risky areas such as dust traps, slipping belts and bearings.
  • Check all fire extinguishers are in good working order.
  • Plan where the water carts are and ensure everyone in the paddock is aware of its location.


First Aid:

  • Visit your GP prior to harvest to ensure scripts are prepared and will last the duration of harvest.
  • Encourage staff to download the Emergency Plus app.
  • Revise DRS ABC– this will guide you on how to prioritise what to do in an emergency.

Danger – is there a danger to you? Is there a danger to other/s? Is the injury and its cause obvious?

Response – is the person responsive?

Seek help – get another person, phone triple zero, use the Emergency Plus app.

Airway – is the airway clear? Nothing will work if they can’t get oxygen.

Breathing – are they breathing normally?

Circulation – do they have a pulse? Is it regular? What colour is their skin? Are they bleeding?



  • Continually review the Farming Fatigue Self-Assessment and encourage employees to do the same.
  • Structure work rosters to reduce potential for fatigue.
  • Where practical, take steps to limit risks associated with fatigue, e.g., working in pairs, completing riskier tasks during daylight hours.

The above information was contributed by Registered Nurses, Simone Murdoch and Paula Connor. 

This event was delivered by BCG in partnership with the VFF, ORM, the Kooloonong Natya Landcare Group and WorkSafe (S3F).
BCG would like to extend a special thank you to Alistair and Simone Murdoch for hosting the event on their property.

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