SafeWork SA reminds farmers working through the upcoming grain harvest to make safety a priority in order to reduce injuries and avoid dangerous incidents.
Farm owners can manage the risks and hazards of their work by ensuring equipment is well-maintained, workers are trained for the task and that adequate rest breaks are provided so no-one works while fatigued.
There are known risks and hazards to manage during harvesting, which arise from circumstances such as working with heavy machinery and unguarded equipment, working long hours and working alone.
Some of the most common injuries suffered by farm workers included falling from a height, tractor runovers, being trapped in unguarded equipment and body stress sustained from improper manual handling or awkward postures.
Farming is a high-risk occupation, with agriculture accounting for the highest proportion of injuries that lead to work injury claims in South Australia.
In 2017, 43 Australians died in the agriculture, fishing and forestry industry, according to Safe Work Australia.
As part of its Agriculture Industry Action Plan 2017-2019, SafeWork SA is working with business and industry to improve health and safety outcomes in the agriculture sector.
The Farmers’ Guidebook, produced jointly with Primary Producers SA, offers useful advice to keep farmers and rural workers safe.
Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 SA, the owner or manager of a farm is responsible for providing adequate training and supervision for all workers, ensuring equipment is in safe working order and appropriately managing all risks to prevent injuries.
Quotes attributable to Acting Executive Director Dini Soulio
The grain harvest is a very busy and important time for South Australian farmers, and as the work ramps up it is even more crucial to put plans in place to make sure that they manage the known risks of the job.
I urge farmers to develop a simple safety plan and stick to that plan. This plan can involve everything from ensuring all equipment and machinery are properly safeguarded, using vehicles properly, not entering field bins or silos, staying hydrated and taking regular breaks.
A truly successful harvest is one that is injury-free.