03:11 pm, Monday 16 July, 2012
The new work health and safety (WHS) laws which commenced in NSW on 1 January 2012 mandates farmers and farm managers to be responsible for the health and safety of their workers and other people who visit farms including customers, visitors and tradespeople.
WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Division General Manager, John Watson said WorkCover will continue its support to the farming industry to help them adjust to the new arrangements.
“Farm safety continues to be a priority for WorkCover NSW after six fatalities and 1,766 injuries in the agriculture industry during 2010/11 that cost the WorkCover Scheme more than $20.1 million,” said Mr Watson.
“The most common injuries involved mobile plant and vehicles including tractors, quad bikes and machinery as well as sprains and strains while handling animals, and being hit by, and falling from, animals.
“With many farm roles involving work in remote areas or in isolation away from emergency assistance and first aid, improving safety for farm workers is vital.”
Mr Watson added that sheep and beef cattle farming is a WorkCover priority after being identified as one of NSW’s highest risk industries.
“Farmers and farm workers deal with work health and safety risks on a daily basis and are well placed to contribute to the development of work health and safety solutions,” he said.
“Through our Sheep and Beef Cattle Farming Program we will be working closely with the farming industry to develop practical and sustainable ways to improve safety on farms as well as identifying ways to get injured workers safely back to work sooner.”
A 15-minute farm safety checklist was developed by WorkCover and Mr Watson is encouraging all farmers to think about work health and safety in their farms.
“Every farm-related fatality and injury has a devastating impact on families, communities and the farming industry and the safety Checklist helps farmers quickly identify potential problems,” said Mr Watson.
“It includes general farm safety as well as specific risks such as tractors and equipment, chemicals, silos and field bins.”
Resources on farm safety can be accessed through the WorkCover NSW website.