WorkSafe identifies most common areas of concern in agriculture

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.

Considerable resources have been directed towards the farming community for many years now, but the fact is that the agriculture sector continues to show a high rate 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.

The coming financial year will see a proactive inspection program looking specifically at safety issues in orchards across the State. It will include issues such as farm machinery, accommodation, emergency procedures and fuel storage.

Agricultural families have specific skills and strategies to manage hazards in their workplaces, and within each farming venture, occupational safety and health issues can change hourly, daily and seasonally.

The known hazards in agriculture and the management of these hazards has seen WorkSafe producing 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 has applied the checklist to a wide range of agricultural businesses across WA to identify the five most common farming hazards.

WorkSafe inspectors will continue to visit agricultural businesses of all sizes across Western Australia to ensure risks were being identified and assessed and that safe systems of work were being put in place.

WorkSafe will continue to provide the agriculture industry with a wide range of material and information to enable it to provide and maintain safer workplaces.

Inspectors will look at every part of the farm, but will pay particular attention to the five most common farming hazards they have uncovered in the course of their previous investigations.

Further information on working safely, along with the Agricultural Safety and Health Checklist, can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307877 or on the website at

Article kindly supplied by WorkSafe, a part of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

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