Up until September 2008 Workplace Health and Safety regulations had rural exemptions in place, meaning that rural industries and farming were not subject to the same workplace health and safety rules that other industries were under. This has now changed.
Rural businesses have until 2010 to get workplace health and safety regulations (or farm OH&S as others sometimes call it) in place on their farm or rural business. One thing that rural workers will need to instigate is the appointment of a nominated Rural WHSO (or Rural Workplace Health and Safety Officer) along with other items of the Act on workplace safety and implementation of these strategies.
Outlined below are some of the circumstances that employers will find they have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of their workers.
- Having safe work systems in place
- Maintenance of the working areas, machinery and keeping equipment maintained and in a safe condition
- Making sure all employees are aware of hazards and potential hazards such as the use of chemicals and other volatile or poisonous substances
- Controlling hazards in the plant and machinery areas and animal handling
- Providing proper safety clothing like ear muffs, or plugs for hearing protection, eye protection for welding jobs and gloves to avoid potential skin problems when working with chemicals
Most days risks on the farm can be assessed and worked out on the fly however, there are some more complex issues that will require more planning and strategic thinking on your part. If you're interested in finding out more about risk management for rural industries you can read more in section , and of the Rural Plant Industry Code of Practice 2004
One of the main aspects of risk management is writing a risk assessment that can help you go through your property and identify any potential risks that you or your employees might face on a day-to-day basis. Doing this will allow you to write and document any solutions you have come up with for potential problems, risks or hazards.
Record keeping is an important process of rural risk management as it allows you to look over the documentation over time and identify areas you have improved on and areas that might need a little more work. A secondary benefit is that keeping thorough documentation will provide the evidence needed to comply with the new Rural OH&S or Farm Workplace Health and Safety requirements.
Rural management is a specialised area and we are able to assist as members of our team have vast experience and an agricultural background.