Rural Health :: Internet can be good for rural health and safety

Australian Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Sussan Ley, today launched a new report Effective Use of the Internet ? keeping professionals working in rural Australia.

Speaking at the Welcome Reception of the 9th National Rural Health Conference in Albury this week, Ms Ley noted that the unique nature of the farm is a major contributor to accidents.

?By the very nature of their jobs, farmers are exposed to more workplace hazards than workers in most other industries, and every year around 150 people die from accidental injury on Australian farms. Thousands more farmers suffer non-fatal injuries.?

?Unlike other industries, the farm combines an industrial workplace and the hazards of chemicals and heavy machinery with the relaxing elements of the family home,? Ms Ley said.

The report, which was commissioned by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, shows that while there is definitely a need for good advice on OH&S practices to help rural producers increase safety levels on farm, there is also a need for access to information and support for health care professionals.

The report assesses how the internet can help health care professionals in rural and remote areas of Australia. It found that while there is a wide range of resources available on the Internet, there are a number of constraints that often prevent them from being used effectively.

Several recommendations are offered to address the problem, such as giving health care providers access to an on-line professional library and on-line post-graduate courses.

The report is a collaborative initiative of a group of rural Research and Development Corporations and Companies – Rural Industries, Cotton, Grains, Sugar, Australian Wool International Limited and Meat and Livestock Australia.

?Research on health and safety issues is an important aspect of the rural Research and Development Corporations? efforts to support industry productivity and this Report is proof of a high level of cooperation across agricultural industries to address the problems of rural health,? Ms Ley said.

Copies of the report can be obtained by contacting the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation on 02 6272 4819

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