Safety a pri­or­ity at har­vest

Countryman - - MACHINERY AND TECHNOLOGY -

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.

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