Dealing with potential risks on your farm

As part of Lubecore’s host of automatic greasing system solutions, we offer these products across a range of industries and machinery, including agricultural equipment. There’s no denying that the farming/agricultural industry is integral to Australia, but it also comes with its fair share of risks.

One alarming statistic shows that the number of unintentional deaths that occur on farms account for almost 16% of all work-related deaths across all Australian industries. While such statistics may be confronting, many of these work-related risks that can lead to injury or death can be reduced by both knowing what risks exist and the steps you can take to make them less problematic.

australian-farm

Below is a list of some of the key health risks that farming can present;

 

  • Animals – injuries inflicted by animals, including bites, kicks, crushing, ramming, trampling, and transmission of certain infectious diseases such as salmonella, ringworm and leptospirosis.
  • Chemicals – be careful around pesticides and herbicides as they can cause injuries such as burns, respiratory illness or poisoning.
  • Confined spaces – areas such as silos, water tanks, milk vats and manure pits may contain unsafe atmospheres, which can cause poisoning or suffocation – some may even present possible crushing hazards if not operated correctly
  • Electricity – dangers include faulty switches, cords, machinery or overhead power lines.
  • Heights – falls from ladders, rooftops, silos and windmills are a major cause of injury; both temporary and permanent
  • Machinery – machinery-related hazards can include tractors without roll-over protection structures (ROPS), power take-off (PTO) shafts, chain saws, augers, motorbikes and any machinery with unguarded moving parts.
  • Vehicles – a crash or fall from motorbikes, two-wheel and quad bikes, tractors, utility vehicles and horses can result in major injuries.
  • Weather – hazards include sunburn, heat stroke, dehydration and hypothermia.

 

Managing farming-related risks

Some initial basic steps you can take to reduce risks around the farm include:

 

  • Regularly walk around your farm and assess potential dangers. When you identify specific dangers, note down what can be done to eliminate or mitigate them.
  • To keep children safe and away from hazards, create a contained play area where they spend their time and can be occupied.
  • Everyone who works on your farm should be made fully aware of all farm risks during orientation and should also be certified in first aid.
  • Make sure all of your equipment is in good condition. If any isn’t, have it repaired/replaced ASAP.
  • Store dangerous items such as machinery, firearms and chemicals behind locked doors and remove keys to a safe place.
  • Devise ways to improve safety, such as fitting roll-over protection and seat belts to tractors, or replacing dangerous chemicals with less toxic varieties.
  • Document when injuries and/or near-misses occur. By having this information logged, you’ll be able to identify if there are specific problem areas and devise ways to resolve them.
  • Write a safety plan together with fellow farm workers and family members, making sure to include ways to identify hazards and minimise potential risks.
  • Always use appropriate safety equipment, such as machinery guards and shields, helmets, gloves, goggles, breathing apparatus, etc.
  • Make sure everyone understands and uses outlined safety procedures; especially children.

 

Keep in mind this is a general list of possible safety measures you can take when working on a farm. It is incredibly important to ensure you take into consideration all risk factors unique to your circumstances and farming environment.

 

South Australian farmhouse from steamranger” by PeripitusOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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