Whether your Agricultural business is centered around an office, a warehouse or a paddock, safety should be at the top of your list of priorities.
During my career I’ve had the opportunity to review documents for many workplace accidents and unfortunately, common sense isn’t so common. You’ll need to put systems in place which cover all eventualities and provide the appropriate training for all roles.
Workplace safety should not be left to one person. Everyone should be monitoring their surroundings and reporting issues (however small) to the safety officer or the boss.
Injuries in the workplace can have a high financial cost, but you need to consider the personal (sometimes long term) cost to an injured employee.
Training is a key factor in workplace safety and ensuring your staff know what is expected is essential. For example, take the employee who rode the farm motor bike and always took off their helmet when out of view from the Farm Manager, after a fall they ended up with severe head injuries. Workplace safety practices are not voluntarily and there should be zero tolerance for non- compliance.
Sometimes employees will be called upon to carry out a task not usually required, such as helping move offices or unpacking a delivery truck. That’s provides an extra opportunity for workplace injury, therefore you may need to provide training in tasks which may fall outside a job description, in this case, lifting.
On farm there are so many opportunities for injuries which can have long term impact on an individual, making this workplace one of the most important for safety.
You would be aware of the recent focus on Quad bike safety. Since 1 January 2015, there have been 22 quad bike fatalities throughout Australia. The Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) have established a working party to develop solutions to reduce the incidence of fatalities involving quad bikes and has developed an industry strategy, but there are suggested practices available now. (See Quadwatch)
Workplace safety does not end with paying you workers compensation premiums, it’s a preventative measure to ensure both you and your staff never need to call on this cover.
Workplace safety can't be tackled alone, is complex and requires ongoing focus. You’ll need to seek out information and depending on type and size of business, may need to utilise a safety consultant.
Workplace safety for Agriculture information can be found here: