Review of Queensland turf farms shows workers’ health and safety a priority

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Photo: SafetyCulture Library

A review of an advisory campaign on 54 turf farms across Queensland shows that workers health and safety are managed well.

The Workplace Health and Safety Queensland initially visited turf farms to check what safety practices have been established and to provide information and resources for worker health and wellbeing. A follow-up visit looked at what actions had since been implemented, what the benefits had been and whether more support is needed.

The review found that appropriate safety equipment and personal protection are in place in all farms. Dehydration, as well as sun safety, were addressed through either the promotion of these health risks and strategies to stay safe, such as regular hydration, or the provision of hats, glasses, sunscreen, and water.

The review also highlighted the following:

  • Main health issues identified were smoking, musculoskeletal injuries, mental stress and drug and alcohol use.
  • About 80 percent of the farms banned smoking in company vehicles and around closed shed areas. Some had a total smoking ban.
  • Turf Queensland drug and alcohol information and local services to address mental health issues of workers.
  • Education on safe chemical handling was a major activity for most of the farms visited.
  • Eleven farms visited committed to addressing the health and wellbeing of their workers. Thirty-two farms committed to broadening their toolbox talks to include healthy eating and helping workers quit smoking.
  • A farm utilizes a smartphone app equipped with a tracking device to notify workers of the arrival and departure times of trucks delivering turf.
  • Six farms arranged for their local bank to provide financial budgeting information to workers on lunch breaks.
  • A farm initiated a health program for workers which include initiatives such as chiropractic visits, quit smoking support, healthy eating facilities and a focus on health family food.

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