The agriculture, forestry and fishing industries have one of the highest rates of work related injury of all industries, topping the statistics in work related deaths. More than 50 Western Australians lost their lives over the past ten years with a number of confirmed work-related deaths in WA this financial year, taking place on farms.
Harvest season is an especially dangerous time of year for farmers as you are under great pressure to complete harvest quickly. Likewise for seasonal fishing times and dates. Fatigue, machinery and plant and the environment all 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, operational and repaired when removed for servicing in all plant, equipment and tools
- Determining the need in the use of quad bikes, tractors and agricultural equipment and then by only competent operators and in a safe manner
- Identifying and managing confined space work
- Chemical storage, labelling, use and disposal
- 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 basic procedures) in place not only dramatically increases organisations’ risks failing to identify and control hazards before they become an incident, but also of prosecution action by regulators in the case of an incident occurring. New WHS Act laws coming into play in WA this year, will place an additional onus on individuals (Directors / Managers), as well as businesses with increased penalty levels up of to $3.5M and / or 5 years imprisonment.
If you require assistance in assessing, monitoring, managing and controlling risks at your primary industry workplace contact the Safety Solutions WA team now to see how we can help make your workplace safer.