New laws have recently been passed and will shortly come into effect, where farmers can be jailed for up to 20 years and be fined up to $5 million if one of their workers dies whilst carrying out work on their farm. This is called Industrial Manslaughter. If this occurs, the farmer has failed their health and safety duty of care and has engaged in conduct knowing it is likely to cause death.
Danielle McNamee (Managing Director of ProcessWorx a business that helps farms with their Work Health & Safety management), suggests no farmer would intentionally put an employee at risk. However, Danielle is very concerned that under the new laws a farmer can be jailed for up to five years and have a fine of up to $680,000, even when there is no intent. This occurs if a farmer fails to comply with their health and safety duty of care and that failure causes death or serious harm.
Danielle and her team are passionate about educating and helping farms keep their people safe. Danielle explains that in her experience not all farmers understand what is required to meet their safety and health duty of care. Under the new WA Work Health Safety Act farmers are responsible for:
- A work environment without risks to health and safety
- Safe plant and structures
- Safe systems of work
- Safe use, handling and storage of plant, structures and substances
- Adequate facilities for the welfare of workers
- Safety and health information, training, instruction or supervision
- Monitoring of the health of workers and conditions of the workplace
- Maintaining safe housing for a worker
- Safety and health consultation
Danielle anticipates that the new Work Health & Safety regulations will be introduced by mid-year, giving farmers time to meet their health and safety duty of care. ProcessWorx has just finished developing a new Farm Work Health & Safety System that together with ProcessWorx’s support will greatly assist farmers to meet their duty of care obligations. The system includes:
- Risk Register tool kit
- Safety Policy
- Processes customised to daily farm operations
- Safe Work Procedures to meet all aspects of farm work.
- Online induction module for new staff
To help with access everything is delivered on an online Portal. However, Danielle explains that as great as the system is, our real point of difference is the support time our WHS Advisors’ spend with farmers, which includes training sessions as well as access to our support helpline. ProcessWorx also keeps all documents updated to ensure ongoing compliance. This means that all of our existing Farm Safety clients will receive our new Farm Work Health & Safety system compliant with the new legislation and implementation training for no additional fee.
For more information on ProcessWorx services or to speak to one of the friendly team, phone 9316 9896, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Danielle McNamee Originally for Farm Weekly