Something that is gaining a lot of traction in agriculture is work health and safety. Over the last year, there has been increasing chatter about safety, and what it means for farming businesses. With the Work, Health and Safety Act expected to come into effect in March 2022, the changes have bought an increased awareness and anxiety about managing safety on farms.
The changes coming into effect include expanding the duty of care of business owners and senior managers to provide a safe workplace and expanding the definition of a worker to include contractors, volunteers and family members as well as employees, managers and owners. There has also been a significant increase in the penalties for owners and senior managers if a death or injury occurs on the farm. This includes Industrial Manslaughter, where an owner or senior manager can be jailed or fined up to $5 million if a worker dies.
Tragically, serious injury and fatalities are all too common in agriculture. In the last ten months, six people have died working on farms in WA. Almost all of these deaths were related to vehicles and equipment including, tractors, towing, and aircraft. Most recently, a 72-year-old farmer from the Mid-West died jump-starting a tractor to tow a bogged truck.
I understand the new safety laws can be confronting and worrying for farmers, however, it is important to remember they are there to keep the people living and working on your property safe.
Now is the perfect time to review and assess your farm’s safety system. Have you identified the risks on your farm? Do you have adequate controls for those risks? Do you have adequate procedures for the maintenance of vehicles and towing machinery? Have you completed a risk assessment for your farm? Do you induct your staff and provide ongoing safety training?
ProcessWorx is passionate about helping farms manage safety. I would be delighted to personally speak to any farms or agribusinesses concerned about their safety needs to see how we can help. Contact me on (08) 9316 9896 or email email@example.com
Written by Danielle McNamee for Farm Weekly