Australian agriculture is an exciting and diverse industry, but like all workplaces it can present some significant dangers. From dangerous machinery and chemicals, to animals and now a global pandemic, hazards can present in any form.
This year’s National Safe Work Month theme, Work Health and Safety through COVID-19, acknowledges and reflects the wide-reaching impacts of COVID-19 on Australian businesses, employers and workers.
Workplaces have had to quickly adapt their practices and procedures to reduce the WHS risks arising from COVID-19 and to manage the psychological effects of the pandemic on workers.
Farm safety is changing
Like many workplaces, farms can be dangerous places and as a result, the Australian agriculture industry has been working hard to improve their safety statistics. Now, with the onset of COVID-19 many agribusinesses have been forced to review their WHS processes which is seeing some significant progress on the agriculture safety front.
Farm owners and managers must make sure that workers and other people on the farm are not exposed to risks to their health and safety. The best ways to protect workers include:
- Making assessments to eliminate hazards and minimise risks
- Specific COVID19 WHS strategies that include social distancing, regular cleaning and the implementation of stringent hygiene measures
- Select and regularly maintain the safest equipment
- 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 these
- Ensure workers have the skills to work safely in all their allocated tasks
- Closely supervise new and inexperienced workers
- Provide support to those who are required to quarantine or are feeling unwell
- Clear and transparent processes for documenting accidents
- A sound understanding of the Australian WHS standards
We are all responsible for safety
While farmers and business operators must take strict measures to protect their workers from COVID-19 and all other hazards, it’s also up to individuals to keep themselves and their co-workers safe at all times.
It’s imperative that staff follow company WHS procedures and apply common sense to situations when they arise. Managing COVID-19 is a serious practice and one that we all must maintain.
In addition to these downloads (available to both clients and candidates), here’s a few extra safety tips:
- Social distance, practice good hygiene and ensure you self-isolate if feeling unwell
- Always wear the correct PPE
- Know your worksite WHS requirements
- Check your workplace for any potential hazards
- Make sure the machinery you’re operating is in good working order
- Be aware of where your co-workers are
- Do not overload vehicles
- When working with animals keep a clear escape route
- Know where the first aid kit is located
- Know who your nominated safety officer is
Let’s work together to navigate WHS and COVID-19 and keep one another safe at all times.
For more information on WHS Through COVID-19 click here