Inquiry into Agricultural Industry report released

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The report on the WorkSafe Commissioner’s independent Inquiry into the Agricultural Industry has been released, with most of its recommendations supported and currently under consideration.

The Commissioner has indicated his support for the majority of the recommendations, however two have been noted as they will require further work or consultation if the State Government wishes to progress them.

The Inquiry was conducted last year by former Chief Industrial Relations Commissioner Pamela Scott when WorkSafe Commissioner Darren Kavanagh called for it in June after the twelfth workplace death in the industry over the preceding 12 months.

A total of 62 written submissions to the Inquiry were received and Ms Scott held community meetings in person across the State and a series of webinars for those who could not attend in person.

Ms Scott also had meetings with more than 25 individuals and organisations, either in person or by telephone and either at the instigation of those individuals and organisations or at her initiative, to discuss safety issues in the industry.

The result is a comprehensive report on health and safety in the Agricultural industry that presents the findings and delivers eight recommendations that have been supported or noted by the WorkSafe Commissioner and Director General of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

The recommendations include:

  • That a specialist Agricultural team of inspectors and liaison officers and an advisory service be established to conduct inspections, attend industry events and develop advisory material for the industry;
  • That steps be taken to raise industry awareness of safety with the participation of industry groups, including specific Agricultural industry web pages and utilisation of public events to educate farmers;
  • That a suite of codes of practice and guidance notes directed to the Agricultural industry be developed, written as simple “how-to” and “how-not-to” documents; and
  • That timely information be given to the industry about the causes of fatalities and serious injuries.

The WorkSafe Commissioner expressed his gratitude to Ms Scott for her work on the Inquiry, and assured the industry that he generally supported its recommendations.

“I support the recommendations of the Inquiry and am giving them consideration, and I intend to consult the State Government on the recommendations that require government action,” Mr Kavanagh said.

“I called for the independent inquiry because I was increasingly concerned with the number of deaths in the industry. The statistics were not acceptable and I was concerned that the number of deaths had continued to increase.

“I was concerned that in some Agricultural workplaces, the workplace culture seemed to accept much greater risk than any other industry, with farm production appearing to be put before the safety of families and workers.

“I will now work with industry stakeholders, worker representatives and peak bodies to further drive work health and safety improvements in the Agricultural sector, in line with the recommendations of the report.”

The report on the Inquiry and the Commissioner’s response are available on the WorkSafe Commissioner’s website.

Media Contact: Caroline De Vaney, 6251 2363 or 0408 927563.

Follow @WorkSafeWA on Twitter

Media release
18 Apr 2023

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