Farmers will be safer in the workplace under a new state government plan to drive down injuries and fatalities in the NSW agriculture sector.
Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean unveiled the plan at the Australian National Field Days event at Borenore, west of Orange, today.
“The farming sector is critical to the NSW economy. In 2013/14 NSW agricultural production was worth $12.1 billion, representing close to a quarter of all national agricultural production,” he said.
“But while it makes up just 2.6 per cent of the Australian workforce, farming accounts for 20 per cent of worker deaths, with the annual cost of injuries in NSW totalling $31 million.
“That’s completely unacceptable, and that’s exactly why we’re working together to strengthen safety measures for every worker across this important sector.”
Mr Kean said the Agriculture Work Health and Safety Sector Plan aims to deliver safer workplaces through simple, practical, and affordable strategies.
“Our plan will be rolled out by SafeWork NSW in partnership with industry, and will focus on a number key improvement areas,” he said.
This will include:
· The use of quad bikes;
· Guarding of agricultural equipment, particularly Power Take Off (PTO) shafts, auger intakes and harvesting machinery;
· Working with animals;
· Falls from silos, windmills, buildings, and farm machinery;
· Electrical safety and preventing electric shocks and electrocutions;
· Hazardous chemical use and storage;
· Mental health and wellbeing;
· Supporting injured workers back into the workplace;
· At-risk workers, including young, culturally diverse, and labour hire; and,
· Musculoskeletal injuries.
“By working with the agriculture sector and supply chain we can keep more farmers, workers, and their families safe across NSW,” Mr Kean said.
The Agriculture Work Health and Safety Sector Plan is available on the SafeWork NSW website.