Farming, Agriculture, Horticulture, Wineries, Brewing & Orchards

March 01 2018

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The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry has one of the highest rates of work related injury of all industries, topping the statistics in work related deaths. 44 Western Australians lost their lives over the past ten years with two confirmed work-related deaths in WA this financial year, both taking place on farms.

Harvest season is an especially dangerous time of year as farmers are under great pressure to complete harvest quickly. Fatigue and plant, particularly quad bikes, play a large part in the cause of workplace incidents.

The following controls are important for managing the risk in the industry:

  • Managing working hours and rest breaks can reduce the level of risk.
  • Adequate hydration
  • Protection from UV and working in the sun, along with other outdoor elements (wind/rain/storms/flora/fauna)
  • Maintaining equipment and plant on a regular basis
  • Ensuring guards are in place and repaired in faulty for plant, equipment and tools
  • Use of quad bikes, tractors and agricultural equipment by only competent operators and used in a safe manner
  • Identifying and managing confined space work
  • Chemical storage, labelling, use and disposal with reference to the material safety data sheet
  • Providing training for plant, equipment, chemical use and tools
  • Supervision for young and new workers with all the above aspects

Businesses within these industries need to have robust safety management processes in place, especially due to the high use of transient workers that may not be aware of Western Australia’s workplace safety expectations. Having no system (or at least only basic procedures) in place leads to failure to identify and control hazards before they become an incident.  This not only dramatically increases organisations’ risks but also of enforcement action by regulators in the case of an incident occurring.

If you require assistance in assessing, managing and controlling risks at your workplace, please contact us.