SafeWork NSW inspectors will be visiting farming businesses in the Coffs Harbour area this Wednesday and Thursday (28 and 29 June) to ensure workers are being kept safe.
The compliance program is focusing on safety priorities such as working around vehicles and machinery, falls prevention, chemical safety, consultation as well as ensuring workers are kept safe when working alone.
Agricultural businesses have a legal obligation to ensure safe systems are in place for workers who are working in remote or isolated areas. This can include proactively monitoring workers with regular phone calls or using distress alarms.
Workers, especially those new to the industry, workplace, or to a particular job on the farm, need to be supported and supervised when performing high-risk tasks. Appropriate controls must be used to make sure they are competent, especially if they are working alone or out of mobile reception which is common in farming.
Compliance checks will be conducted at as many farm locations and processing sites as possible in the Coffs Harbour area with inspectors taking a zero-tolerance approach to serious safety breaches.
Seasonal workplaces have been identified as a priority area for SafeWork NSW in 2023. The outcomes of this program will be shared with the sector to help drive continual improvement in workplace safety practices.
Acting Head of SafeWork NSW John Tansey said:
“The contribution of seasonal workers to the agricultural economy is invaluable and we need to ensure they are kept safe.
“Since the start of 2022 there have tragically been 20 people who have lost their lives either working on farms or doing work associated with farming in NSW.
“Every farm worker deserves to get home safely. It’s also important to recognise that the impacts of incidents are felt more acutely in regional areas due to the smaller populations and connectedness of the community. This targeted compliance program is about working towards zero with agricultural businesses and workers to prevent serious injuries.
“Farming and agricultural work has some unique safety challenges, particularly in relation to working in isolated environments. This program is about making sure businesses and workers plan around those challenges before harvest starts to keep everyone safe.”
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