Managing farm risks

South Australia has more than 11,000 farms that make up one of the state’s most important industries.

But a combination of hazards also makes it one of the highest risk sectors in which to work, with almost 19 per cent of workplace deaths occurring on farms. In addition, every week about nine farm workers will be injured seriously enough to access work injury insurance.

South Australian work injury claim statistics show people working in these sectors are at the greatest risk of serious injury when working with sheep, beef and dairy cattle, in a vineyard or in grain and crop production.

The most common causes of injuries are being hit by a moving object (mostly animals), muscle stress through manual handling and lifting, falls and vehicle incidents.

Farmers are a resourceful, resilient and independent group, and you might feel you don’t have the time or the need to seek advice. But the reality is that most fatalities and serious injuries are preventable through the use of practical solutions to identify and address health and safety issues.

And experienced farmers are the most likely to die
while at work; Safe Work Australia data shows workers aged over 65 accounted for 32 per cent of on-farm fatalities between 2010 and 2014.

The Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) aims to protect all workers, including employees, contractors, subcontractors, outworkers, apprentices, trainees, work experience students, volunteers and employers. This means that if you ask a family member or friend to help with on-farm duties, they are also covered by safety laws and you must meet your legal work health and safety responsibilities for them.

SafeWork SA has been working with the agriculture sector to help reduce work injuries and fatalities by effectively managing the hazards and risks on farms. This includes workshops being held across the state across a number of commodity groups, production of a comprehensive work health and safety manual just for farmers and a free mobile advisory service. Our experienced advisors can visit you on your farm and have no inspector powers under the Act, so you can feel comfortable inviting them in to help.

Article kindly provided by SafeWork SA.