WorkSafe undertakes extensive education and enforcement activity in the agriculture industry, and has identified the five most common areas of concern in agricultural workplaces.
The five hazards most common in agricultural properties visited by WorkSafe inspectors are:
- Unguarded machinery;
- Lack of residual current devices (RCDs);
- Insufficient information available for workplace chemicals;
- Insufficient training and induction for new workers; and
- Failure to wear approved helmets on quad bikes.
With the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector consistently recording the highest number of work-related deaths in WA, there are continuing concerns with workplace safety and health on farms.
Although considerable resources have been directed towards the farming community for many years, the fact is that the agriculture sector continues to be over represented when it comes to numbers of deaths and injuries.
As a result, agriculture has been identified as a national priority for prevention activities, focusing attention and activities on identifying the causes of injuries in the industry and endeavouring to find solutions.
WorkSafe inspectors have undertaken inspections at farming properties of every size, that conduct a wide range of activities – from micro-agricultural industries that focus on the production of specialist and gourmet products to large station properties that cover thousands of hectares.
Agricultural workplaces must have specific strategies to manage hazards, as within each farming venture, occupational safety and health issues can change hourly, daily and seasonally.
WorkSafe, along with industry stakeholders across WA including farming organisations, machinery dealers, service organisations and educational institutions, focuses on safety in farming through the Agricultural Action Plan.
The Plan focuses on known hazards in agriculture and the management of these hazards.
WorkSafe has also produced the Agricultural Safety and Health Checklist to assist the industry to lessen injuries and illness. The checklist documents a safety system, and is simple to apply and free to download from the WorkSafe website.
WorkSafe inspectors will continue to visit agricultural businesses of all sizes across WA to ensure risks are being identified and assessed and that safe systems of work are being put in place.
Read more about the storage, handling and transportation of dangerous goods on farms on the following page.
Further information on working safely, along with the Agricultural Action Plan and the Agricultural Safety and Health Checklist, can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe through 1300 307 877 or from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/worksafe
Article kindly supplied by WorkSafe, a part of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.