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The VFF Team

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John Darcy
Senior Farm Safety Advisor

John is a highly experienced safety and workers compensation practitioner. John is down to earth and connects easily with people.

John have previously worked for the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) and the Master Builders Association of Victoria (MBAV). He was directly involved in drafting of Victoria’s OHS and Workers Compensation Acts, Regulations and Codes and has years of stakeholder experience with regulators, employer groups and unions.

John is passionate about farm safety and loves seeing family businesses succeed.

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Jennifer Shaw
Project Manager

Jennifer is a passionate advocate for agriculture and loves being an opportunity broker for people who are doing impactful things in the industry.
 
Jennifer's background in agronomy and agricultural media have provided her with extensive project managing and stakeholder engagement skills. She's found that storytelling is the key to unite people from different backgrounds.

Jennifer mostly works remotely from a family-owned chicken farm in South-East Victoria and is passionate about investing in innovative technology for a sustainable future.

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Richard Versteegen
Farm Safety Advisor

Richard is a highly experienced health and safety advisor. Richard is very knowledgeable and understands the everyday challenges that farmers face.

With 35 years’ experience in health and safety, three of which have been with the agricultural sector, Richard has developed a good understanding of how to address safety across the variety of agricultural commodity areas and to balance the requirements specific to small farms or to corporate enterprises.

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Tara Rich
Communications Officer

Tara is our Communications Officer and works remotely from the West Wimmera on her family-owned sheep and cropping farm.
 
Tara’s background in communications and community engagement in rural areas through roles in Local Government, CFA and Victoria Police provide her with experience and deep cultural awareness of issues affecting farming and rural community needs.
 
Tara views the Making Our Farms Safer Project as a much welcomed resource that will positively impact the lives of many, including her farmer husband and three farm kids.

The VFF Making Our Farms Safer project is funded by Smarter, Safer Farms, a $20 million Victorian Government commitment to improve safety and skills outcomes for Victorian farmers.
 
Our aim is to deliver free farm safety tools and services that are accessible, practical and useful to all Victorian farmers to support farmer and workers’ safety, wellbeing and mental health.

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Five Reasons For Risk

There are many reasons why accidents happen on farms. Take a look at these top five reasons and identify how many of them might relate to you.

Farming Industry OHS Myths

Apart from doing as much as we can to practically improve the safety outcomes in the industry by visiting farms across Victoria – one of the key objectives of the Making Our Farms Safer project is to influence the culture of the industry.

We are confident that the vast majority of farmers honestly and sincerely believe that they do provide a safe workplace for themselves and their employees, but often when we dive deeper in to those discussions, we find that there are often legal requirement knowledge gaps and everyday hazards that farmers have simply become accustomed to working with.

We want to share and address those common statements with you, not to offend, but to welcome you to join us on our journey to keep Victorian farmers safe.

This statement is often made without direct knowledge of the laws or the updates. Victoria’s OHS Act and Regulations have only been amended on a handful of occasions and legal expectations have been remained fairly consistent since 2004.

During our farm safety consults, we provide farmers with free OHS resources, practical advice and a simple plan to follow. OHS does not need to be overly time consuming or expensive. This will save you time and money in the long term.

A clear concession that the farmer is instinctively managing safety but often without knowledge or understanding of what is legally expected and without certainty of whether there are hazards present.

Unfortunately, in the event of an accident, farmers would not be able to defend themselves on this basis. Employers are expected to know what their OHS duties are.

Whilst employees also have duties under OHS law, in the event of an accident, questions will still be asked as to whether the employer met their duties.

Some farmers gain a false sense of security that their workplace is safe on the back of a visit from an Inspector. It is not the responsibility of WorkSafe Inspectors to consult on OHS duties and many hazards are often unidentified.

Research shows that many of the fatalities that have occurred on farm were easily preventable.

There is no better time than when advice, delivered to your farm free of charge, is available. Continuously putting it off could be disastrous.

Industry Partners

Our trusted partners are committed to your safety. Check out their elite-level advice, as well as the range of useful tools on offer – all of which are designed to help keep you and your families safe on the farm

This website is part of the VFF Making Our Farms Safer project, funded by the Victorian Government to provide all Victorian farmers with support and resources to improve health and safety on farms.


About the Victorian Farmers Federation

The Victorian Farmers Federation is an active, powerful lobby group dedicated to the interests of farmers and making a difference to communities.
With a strong record of successful political advocacy and leadership, the VFF has generated substantial benefits for the agriculture sector since its formation in 1979.  

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