Harvest season brings safety reminders

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WA’s harvest season has begun, and brings with it a reminder from WorkSafe to ensure all safety measures are taken.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said today the agriculture sector did not have a good record when it came to workplace safety.

“WA’s agriculture, forestry and fishing industry has one of the highest rates of work-related injury of all industries,” Mr McCulloch said.

“The sector actually tops the statistics in work-related deaths, with 44 Western Australians losing their lives over the past ten years.  In addition, there have been two confirmed work-related deaths in WA this financial year, and both took place on farms.

“Harvesting time brings with it some specific issues that need to be addressed in order to keep our agricultural workers safe and healthy.

“At this time of year farmers face great pressure to get the harvest completed quickly, so it’s especially important that they pay close attention to safety considerations.

“Ensuring that all equipment – machinery and mobile plant – is well maintained, properly guarded and serviced regularly is crucial, as is ensuring that all workers are adequately trained in the use of this plant and equipment.

“It’s also extremely important to ensure that farmers and other machinery operators take adequate rest breaks to reduce the risk of fatigue.  Long working hours and the associated fatigue are significant safety and health issues that need particular attention during harvest time.

“Adequate hydration needs to be provided for workers, along with protection from the sun for those working outside on vehicles that have no cover.

“Guarding of plant is a major issue in the agriculture industry, and I urge farmers to ensure that all nip points, crush points and entanglement points are properly guarded to minimise the risk of injuries that can be prevented by guarding.

“There are many other hazards on farms – including fire risks, bites and stings from snakes and insects, falls and electricity issues – and harvest is such a busy time that safety considerations may be left by the wayside.

“An Agriculture Safety Checklist is available on the WorkSafe website, and I urge farmers and farm workers to use it to ensure that all safety precautions are being taken during this year’s harvest season.”


Media Contact: Caroline De Vaney 6251 2363 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only).

Follow @WorkSafeWA on Twitter

Media release
27 Oct 2017

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