It’s Farm Safety Week, a time to be aware that while the agriculture industry can be a rewarding, it’s also one of the most dangerous to work in – but it doesn’t have to be.
The Week aims to raise awareness of farm safety issues across Australia and some practical steps farmers can take to improve worker health and safety. Some of the hazards to agricultural workers include plant, chemicals, noise, dust, sun exposure, working with animals, and working alone or in remote locations.
In 2015-16 the agriculture industry made up 2.3% of the workforce, but accounted for 23% of worker fatalities. Between 2005-15, an average of 41 workers lost their lives in the agriculture industry each year, and 3,015 serious claims were made.
Some of the best ways to protect workers include:
- Eliminate hazards – things that can kill or hurt workers. If that’s not possible, the risks must be minimised so far as is reasonably practicable.
- Choose the safest equipment for your farm’s needs and maintain it.
- Choose the safest chemicals and closely follow the manufacturers’ instructions.
- Ensure all workers and visitors know about the risks on the farm and how to manage them.
- Ensure workers have the skills to work safely, for example when handling animals and using farm equipment.
- Closely supervise new and inexperienced workers.
In light of Farm Safety Week, we have released an infographic on work health and safety in agriculture.
More resources will be published on the Safe Work Australia website and social media channels throughout this week to assist people working on or managing farms.
The Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 lists Agriculture as a priority industry, and Safe Work Australia is working to improve work health and safety outcomes in the agriculture sector.
Source: Safe Work Australia collects National data on work-related injuries and fatalities. Information and data is collated by Safe Work Australia.