Time to Act Now for Farm Safety

Farm Safety Week

Work, Health and Safety has gained significant attention this year in agriculture with the introduction of the Work Health and Safety Act (2020) in March, and the announcement of the inquiry into agriculture by the WorkSafe Commissioner in late June. This week for National Farm Safety Week it is important to continue to raise awareness to improve safety in the agricultural industry.

Although at ProcessWorx we strive to bring awareness to farm safety all year round, this week is an important reminder for farmers to check they are doing everything they can to keep their people safe and comply with the law.

The inquiry into agriculture was announced after 12 deaths in the industry in 12 months, a tragic figure that highlights how dangerous working in farming is.

Unfortunately, agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries for fatalities in Australia, with 13.1 fatalities per 100,000 workers.

The WorkSafe inquiry means that the regulator will be looking more closely at how farmers manage safety to reduce the risk of injury and harm.

This attention needs to encourage farmers to take a more focused approach to safety and implement health and safety systems to reduce the number of injuries and comply with legislation.

Compliance with safety laws and regulations has never been more important. With the introduction of the Work Health and Safety Act (2020) penalties for non-compliance have increased. Farm owners, directors and managers can all be charged and receive jail time if they are found to have breached their duty of care which results in death or injury.

Industrial Manslaughter is a criminal offence and attracts a maximum penalty if a worker dies on your farm of $10 million for the business, and $5 million and 20 years in jail for the farmer.

To avoid penalties and to improve safety on your farm we recommend the following three tips for compliance.

Building your risk register

Developing a risk register involves identifying hazards and recording everything that could potentially go wrong and harm a worker.

Then the risk of each hazard needs to be assessed. Risk is the probability or likelihood that the hazard will cause harm and the extent of the harm if it does, i.e. cuts or scrapes vs fatality.

Control measures that can be taken to eliminate or minimise the risk should also be documented and implemented based on priority, focusing on the most serious first.

Safety training and induction

Properly training and inducting workers on your farm is crucial. Agriculture involves working with heavy machinery, dangerous chemicals and equipment that can cause harm if workers don’t know how to use them correctly.

“Common sense” should not be assumed, and time should be taken to teach workers how to do tasks correctly and safely.

Many farms already do the right thing when onboarding new workers but documenting your induction and safety training is just as important for your duty of care, to prove you have done the right thing.

Emergency management

Farms need to have a plan in place in case of an emergency. Documenting and communicating an emergency management plan with all workers is important so everyone knows what to do in an emergency.

Write plans of action for emergencies such as bushfire, serious injury, vehicle accident, chemical spill, powerline strike or severe storm and implement them. Include important contact details and locations of first aid kits. 

What ProcessWorx Offers:

ProcessWorx offers a WHS management system designed for farms that specialises in providing support and coaching sessions to teach you how to implement the system and meet your duty of care.

This system includes a risk register toolkit, processes, and safe work procedures. These are accessed on our cloud-based AgriShield WebApp for your documents, registers and online inductions. Our service includes as many coaching sessions as required with a WHS Advisor to teach you how to implement your system, as well as ongoing phone and email support, and automatic document updates to comply with legislation.

Our real point of difference is the care and support our safety team provides to coach farmers to implement the system and integrate safety into their farm.

Our Farm WHS Package can be combined with our Farm HR Package so that everything your farm needs to maintain compliance is in one place and you have the support of our expert advisors.

For HR and Safety Advice, see ProcessWorx Managing Director Danielle McNamee’s monthly column in Farm Weekly.

If you need assistance reviewing your options for farm safety or have other questions, please contact ProcessWorx on (08) 9316 9896. Our friendly expert team will be happy to help you.

Follow ProcessWorx on LinkedInFacebookInstagramYouTube, and Twitter to keep up with the latest HR and Safety news.

Written by Danielle McNamee

Originally written by Danielle McNamee for Farm Weekly


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Marisa Ross

HR Advisor

Marisa is an experienced and motivated HR professional with a strong HR generalist and business operations background with a focus on employee relations, performance management, leadership training & development, workers compensation & injury management, and employee retention. Marisa holds a Bachelor of Human Resource Management and a Bachelor of Behavioural Science with a minor in Counselling. Having worked in a variety of industries from SMEs to large blue-chip organisations, Marisa is passionate about enriching employee experience, employee retention, and building leadership capability in people management.

Aimee Grigson

Aimee Grigson

WHS Advisor

Aimee has a strong understanding of Workplace Health and Safety Legislation and standards and has extensive HSEQ experience in a number of industries. Aimee has a great ability to engage across all levels of organisation, including field teams, leadership and external stakeholders. Aimee ensures Health and Safety Management Systems are compliant to legislation, effectively implemented and understood by all. Aimee has a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety and qualifications in auditing and incident investigations. Aimee is passionate about coaching and developing small businesses towards a positive safety culture.