08:40 am, Tuesday 19 October, 2010
Safety issues over plant and equipment remain a major concern for the agricultural industry, WorkSafe Victoria reveals.
WorkSafe inspectors have issued over 200 safety improvement notices to farm businesses from July to September as part of a year-long statewide farm safety campaign.
Now in its third month, the campaign focuses on the most common causes of farm injuries and fatalities.
According to WorkSafe’s Executive Director (Health and Safety) Ian Forsyth, over half of the safety notices issued were in connection with plant and equipment safety.
“One of our biggest concerns is the lack of guarding on power take-off (PTO) shafts which can turn at thousands of revolutions a minute,” said Mr Forsyth.
“A PTO guard is basically a life-saving device which protects you from getting caught up in the rotating parts which connect a tractor with an attachment like an auger or a slasher.
“If [you're] not using a PTO guard, you’re putting yourself and others at risk of being pulled into the rotating shaft by hair or clothing.
“Most farmers would have a good understanding of what a fast-rotating shaft looks like. You don’t need a lot of imagination to understand what happens when something goes wrong,” he said.
Mr Forsyth is expecting farmers to become busier in the coming months as the state is expecting a bumper crop.
“Things may have been a bit quieter for farmers over winter – now that the days are longer and farmers are gearing up for harvesting, the pressure is really on.
“Now is the time to get safety right. If you’ve been farming for decades, it’s time to start thinking the job through rather than just relying on your skills and experience.”
Aside from inadequate PTO guard, the safety inspections had uncovered a number of safety issues involving plant and equipment, including forklifts, chemical storage, fall hazards, electrical equipment, manual handling, quad bikes (helmets), silos, traffic management systems, and rollover protection on tractors.
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