Safety a priority at harvest
The start of WA’s harvest season has sparked a reminder from WorkSafe to ensure all safety measures are taken.
WorkSafe WA commissioner Lex McCulloch said the agricultural sector did not have a good record when it came to workplace safety.
“WA’s agriculture, forestry and fishing industry has one of the highest rates of work-related injury of all industries,” he said.
“The sector actually tops the statistics in work-related deaths, with 44 West Australians losing their lives over the past 10 years. In addition, there have been two confirmed workrelated deaths in WA this financial year, and both took place on farms.”
Mr McCulloch said harvest brought about issues that needed to be addressed to keep agricultural workers safe and healthy.
“At this time of year, farmers face great pressure to get the harvest completed quickly, so it’s important that they pay close attention to safety considerations,” he said.
“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 ad- equately trained in the use of this plant and equipment.”
Mr McCulloch said it was important farmers and machinery operators took 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,” he said.
“Adequate hydration needs to be provided for workers, along with protection from the sun for those working outside.
“Guarding of plant is a major issue in the agricultural industry, and I urge farmers 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.”
Mr McCulloch urged farmers and farm workers to use WorkSafe’s Agriculture Safety Checklist, which has been made available on the organisation’s website.
A burnt-out harvester.