WITH the busiest time of the year on our doorsteps, this is your reminder to 'take five' and reflect on what you're doing to ensure you are keeping your workers safe, maximising their productivity to get the best out of them - and complying with work health and safety laws and regulations.
The long days, hot weather and urgency to get the crop off means increased hazards and a likelihood of accidents occurring, so 'take 5' and consider these three questions regarding work health and safety this season.
1) Have you done inductions with your workers, contractors and visitors?
By law, you are required to complete inductions.
An induction is a process where you onboard the worker to ensure they receive accurate and consistent information on how to perform their work tasks safety.
An induction encompasses a range of things - including advising the worker of important contacts, expectations, policies and procedures, emergency plans, first aid facilities and so on.
There are many free generic induction resources online, but keep in mind if you choose to use one of these, you will need to modify it to your specific workplace.
If you're looking for something tailored to the ag industry, SafeFarms WA provides its members with access to farm worker, contractor and visitor induction templates.
2) Have you completed sufficient training with your workers?
The law also requires you to complete training with your workers.
Is your new backpacker confident and competent in operating that piece of machinery?
Have they been advised of the prestart procedures and do they have a copy they can refer to?
Does your worker know what to do in the case of an emergency?
Ensure you document this training - and that the worker is deemed competent by both parties agreeing and 'signing off'.
3) Have you documented the hazards and risks - and made steps to mitigate these?
The law requires you to identify hazards and to put actions in place to reduce or mitigate these hazards.
During harvest common examples of hazards include fatigue, heat, fire and machinery movement.
It is your choice how you document these hazards, but a common way to do this is through a tool called a Risk Register.
A quick Google search will result in many different examples of Risk Registers so you can build your own - print one out, start to identify the hazards and think about how you're going to remove or reduce these.
Using fatigue as an example, you can reduce this risk by ensuring your workers take consistent breaks, they eat a healthy diet and have enough time between shifts to get a good night's sleep.
Identifying hazards is a crucial part of work health and safety, and a WorkSafe inspector will be looking for this evidence if completing an audit of your business.
A common thread throughout these questions is the importance of providing evidence and proof - everything must be documented - and that documentation must be easily accessible.
You may record things in a notebook, or store documents in a file on your computer - but SafeFarms WA is taking this to a new level by launching the SafeFarms app.
The SafeFarms app will allow farmers and their workers to access inductions, employee information, hazard identification templates, incident reporting and more, straight from their device.
The app will be a one-stop-shop, saving you time and money when it comes to documentation and implementing safety procedures in your business.
The SafeFarms app will be launched on Monday, October 30 and will be exclusive to SafeFarms WA members.
The development of the app has been generously sponsored by CSBP Fertilisers which is contributing $150,000 over three years.
As a not-for-profit organisation, SafeFarms WA would have been unable to deliver this important tool to its members without CSBP's support and commitment to safety in the industry.
SafeFarms WA was founded for farmers by farmers.
Since 1994, it has supported hundreds of Western Australian farmers to work towards compliance, increase their productivity and reduce workplace accidents.
If you would like to find out how SafeFarms WA can help you to implement a safety system in your business, call 0402 611 290 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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