world health and safety in agriculture

18 June 2024 posted by Recovery Partners

The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry are one of the leading sectors where injuries and illnesses occur within the workplace. Data by Safe Work Australia into worker deaths by industry of workplace revealed that as of the 14th of March 2024, 6 people have already died within this industry, making work health and safety in agriculture vital.  

Therefore, the agriculture industry is classified as a high-risk industry. In 2023, 21 people died in the workplace in the agriculture, foresting and fishing industries, accounting for 12% of the overall total of workplace deaths that occurred that year. In Safe Work Australia’s latest strategy, their goal to reduce work fatalities, injuries and illnesses is only possible by creating safer working environments. Their strategy reveals that a high priority must be given to agriculture, construction, road transport, manufacturing, health care, social assistance and public administration industries, as they face the highest rates of harm. It was also uncovered that of these six industries, 70% of fatalities and 58% of serious workers’ compensation claims were attributed to them. Agriculture is also an industry that represents one of the highest frequencies of serious claims per million hours worked.

Hence, the reason why the agricultural industry continues to have a high rate of injury and illness within the workplace is due to a combination of hazards and risks that workers are exposed to.

What are the main hazards of working in the Agricultural industry?
 

The main hazards associated with working in the agricultural industry are:

  • Plant e.g. Tractors, motorbikes and quad bikes
  • Chemicals
  • Dust
  • Noise exposure
  • Weather exposure
  • Working with animals
  • Working outdoors, alone or in remote areas
What are the main risks of working in the Agricultural industry?
 

Additionally, workers in the agricultural industry often work in isolated or remote areas which can lead to the following risks.

  • Lifting heavy objects or operating machinery alone
  • Poor access to help or first aid
  • Poor mobile phone coverage

The most common causes of injuries that occur working in agriculture include manual handling, being hit by a moving object and slips, trips and falls.

Furthermore, the main cause of worker place deaths within this industry can be attributed to being struck by an animal, vehicle accidents, falling from a horse or an accidental shooting.

What is your responsibility as a PCBU?
 

Ultimately, as a PCBU, you must reasonably practice, eliminate or minimise risks associated with agricultural work. It is your duty to take all possible measures to eliminate hazards that may affect your workplace.

If elimination is not possible, you can minimise the risks by:

  • Supplying and using the safest equipment possible
  • Supplying the safest chemicals possible and adhering to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Making sure workers and visitors are made aware of any risks and hazards they may be exposed to at the place of work
  • Ensure that workers are properly trained and skilled
  • Supervising new and inexperienced workers
How can we help?
 

At Recovery Partners we take the stress out of Safety compliance by offering Safety Management Services that ensure that your business is not only keeping its employees safe but meeting its legal obligations. It is more important than ever for work health and safety in agriculture to be prioritised and you do that by mitigating workplace risks.  

Take the first step in preventing incidents and accidents within your workplace by using our free template.

Want to find out more?
 

Our services are available nationwide. For more information about our services contact us.

Our consultants love to have a chat, so go ahead and give us a call on 1300 OHS RTW (647 789) or email enquiries@rrp.com.au

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Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/