Risky busi­ness

How to make a safe work­place

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

Mak­ing sure your farm is a safe work­place helps avoid accidents and in­crease in­come and prof­its, ac­cord­ing to the Ru­ral In­dus­tries Re­search & De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion.

Sta­tis­tics show that agri­cul­ture is Aus­tralia’s most dan­ger­ous job, with 686 work­place fa­tal­i­ties be­ing recorded in the in­dus­try be­tween 2003 and 2014.

How­ever, Pri­mary In­dus­tries Health and Safety Part­ner­ship (PIHSP) ad­vi­sory panel chair Gor­don Gre­gory says im­prov­ing safety isn’t hard if you fol­low five ba­sic steps to iden­tify risks and fix them. Th­ese are:

1. Con­sult – in­volve your work­ers

2. Iden­tify haz­ards – look for un­safe con­di­tions and prac­tices 3. As­sess the risk – for each haz­ard, con­sider likely out­comes 4. Con­trol the risk – use the ‘hi­er­ar­chy of con­trol’ ap­proach to elim­i­nate each haz­ard, or find some­thing else to use in­stead. If that can’t be done, use pro­tec­tive equip­ment and put pro­ce­dures in place to min­imise the risk

5. Keep records – write down your OH&S ac­tiv­ity.

“In­volv­ing and con­sult­ing work­ers is key and should in­clude reg­u­lar meet­ings where safety is­sues are dis­cussed,”

Gre­gory says. “It’s al­ways im­por­tant to be on the look­out for on-farm haz­ards, but that’s es­pe­cially true when fa­mil­iar sys­tems change, such as with the ar­rival of new ma­chin­ery and equip­ment.

“Prop­erty own­ers, man­agers and work­ers all have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to iden­tify those jobs and sit­u­a­tions that may cause in­jury or ill­ness, not only to peo­ple do­ing the work, but also to by­standers and vis­i­tors.”

Other tips in­clude:

• Peo­ple work­ing on farms should re­port to their man­ager

any­thing that could be haz­ardous to health and safety

• Risk as­so­ci­ated with each haz­ard can be as­sessed in terms of the sever­ity of the po­ten­tial harm that could oc­cur, and the like­li­hood that such an out­come could oc­cur

• The best thing to do is to elim­i­nate the iden­ti­fied haz­ard, for in­stance by swap­ping to a piece of equip­ment or in­fra­struc­ture that can do the same job but is less risky • Re­duc­ing the risk can also be achieved by pro­vid­ing work­ers with safe op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures or rules, or­gan­is­ing work in such a way that re­duces risk, giv­ing safety in­duc­tion and train­ing to work­ers, and closely su­per­vis­ing un­skilled work­ers • Per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment must be pro­vided and used where work­ers can­not be pro­tected from a haz­ard by a con­trol mea­sure. This in­cludes pro­vid­ing hel­mets to pro­tect rid­ers of mo­tor­bikes and quad-bikes (ATVs).

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