A farmer talking on a mobile phone in front of a tractor

Linking telecommunications, social media and farm safety

Most of us will have experienced the frustration of attempting to get decent reception while on the land. 

You grit your teeth and swear, glance around for the nearest hill, and eventually resort to perching on the back of the ute with your phone held a few feet above your head. Hoping for that one extra bar.

Agriculture has always been a major beneficiary of technological advances. Mechanisation, fertilisation, hydroponics, and increasingly sophisticated land management technologies have all resulted in massive boosts to efficiency, productivity and safety on-farm.

Today’s next-gen telecommunications networks and the ascendancy of social media are no different, in this regard, to a tractor in the 19thCentury.

Platforms like facebook, Twitter and other new media platforms are increasingly useful tools for maintaining awareness of risk factors and broad-scale threats to health and safety. 

A farmer talking on a mobile phone in front of a tractor

By maintaining an up-to-the-minute awareness of news, notifications and information shared by industry and community bodies, it’s easier than ever to be prepared for a range of threats. 

This may include natural disasters like bushfires, flooding or cyclones, as well as alerts concerning defective equipment or trespass actions by extreme activists.

It is highly convenient and deeply empowering to be able to speak with anyone or receive vital information with the click of a mouse or the tap of a screen. But when this ability is taken away unexpectedly or simply absent altogether it can be a confronting, and occasionally dangerous, experience.

Black spots, poor weather conditions and damaged infrastructure can often lead to situations in which you are unable to contact or be contacted by anyone for extended periods of time.

When things go bad under these conditions, minor inconveniences can become major hazards. 

A broken-down vehicle or a twisted ankle are considerably more difficult to manage without outside help. Very serious incidents requiring immediate aid, such as a rolled quad bike or a snakebite, become significantly more lethal when you’re alone and isolated.

There are a few steps you can take to manage the risk of being caught out injured, stranded and cut-off.

  1. Avoid heading out on your own wherever possible. Not only is it nice to have an extra pair of hands to make lighter work, but if something should go wrong it’s more likely that one of you will be able to offer assistance or head for help.
  • Where it isn’t convenient or possible to have a second person accompany you, make sure you let somebody know where you’re going, what you’re doing, and when you intend to be back. The more details you provide, the faster they’ll be able to get help to you if something happens.
  • Consider assembling a field kit containing everything you might need handy if you run into trouble when you’re out on the farm. Include items like a hand-held radio/walkie-talkie or satellite phone, first aid equipment and a multitool. Bring the kit along whenever you’re ranging far.

These steps, backed up by a sound knowledge of the farm and potential hazards, will help to ensure that you are never left in the lurch when danger or disaster strikes.

Farmsafe Australia

Farmsafe Australia

The Farmsafe Australia network is interested in protecting the health and safety of farmers, workers, family members and visitors to farms.

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