Agriculture is a national priority industry. In New South Wales (NSW) sheep and beef cattle farming is one of the highest risk sectors within the agriculture industry.
WorkCover NSW identified the highest risks in this industry as:
- working with livestock
- use of quad bikes
- working with tractors and related implements and attachments
- occupational diseases
- child safety on farms, and
- return to work and injury management working with livestock.
In June 2013 WorkCover NSW launched the supporting the Sheep & Beef Cattle Industry Action Plan 2013-2014 as part of the Focus on Industry Program. Prior to the implementation of the action plan a pre-intervention survey was undertaken to understand the issues and assist with future evaluation.
The action plan aims to:
- improve workplace health and safety
- improve return to work and injury management outcomes, and
- contribute to the national incidence reduction targets.
The interventions aimed to address the highest risks by:
- offering targeted rebates
- developing guidance material on health, safety and returning to work after a workplace incident
- delivering key safety messages through existing industry channels
- building awareness and capability through industry events, field days and accredited training courses
- a communications campaign focused on farmers talking with farmers, and
- an inspector visit program providing onsite advice and guidance, case management for high risk businesses and follow-up visits to measure change.
The supporting the Sheep & Beef Cattle Industry Action Plan 2013-2014 will be evaluated using a post intervention survey of businesses and inspector assessments of workplaces. Annual reassessment of the sector will be undertaken using injury, illness and return to work data for three years following implementation. If required further activities targeting the sector will be undertaken in response to these assessments.
For more information on the supporting the Sheep & Beef Cattle Industry Action Plan 2013-2014 or the Focus on Industry Program visit the WorkCover NSW website.