FOCUS ON AGRICULTURE AND FARM SAFETY
The agriculture sector does not have a good record when it comes to workplace safety. Agriculture, forestry and fishing have one of the highest rates of work-related injury of all industries.
Harvesting time brings with it some specific issues that need to be addressed in order to keep our agricultural workers safe and healthy.
At this time of year, farmers face great pressure to get the harvest completed quickly, so it’s especially important that they pay close attention to safety considerations. Ensuring that all equipment – machinery and mobile plant – is well maintained, properly guarded, and serviced regularly is crucial, as is ensuring that all workers are adequately trained in the use of this plant and equipment.
It is extremely important to ensure that farmers and other machinery operators take adequate rest breaks to reduce the risk of fatigue. Long working hours and the associated fatigue are significant safety and health issues that need particular attention during harvest time.
Adequate hydration needs to be provided for workers, along with protection from the sun for those working outside on vehicles that have no cover.
Guarding of plant is a major issue in the agriculture industry, and all farmers need to ensure that all nip points, crush points and entanglement points are properly guarded to minimise the risk of injuries that can be prevented by guarding.
There are many other hazards on farms – including fire risks, bites and stings from snakes and insects, falls and electricity issues – and harvest is such a busy time that safety considerations may be left by the wayside.
About 75% of deaths in Victorian agricultural workplaces are associated with farm machinery (based on WorkSafe data). Some of these deaths could have been prevented if the person had received earlier emergency care, and if better emergency procedures were in place.
You might think you’re bulletproof and know your land like the back of your hand.
But more people die on farms than other workplaces – let’s change that.
You can prevent accidents. You can prevent deaths.
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