In 2018, Stats NZ reported that those in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry suffered the highest percentage of workplace-related injuries. Enacting comprehensive farm safety policies poses unique challenges, but it isn’t impossible. Below we will address some of the important factors you should consider to ensure health and safety on your farm.
HasTrak specializes in providing health and safety training and consulting to bring farm safety inline with NZ health and safety requirements.
Document Official Farm Safety Practices
New Zealand’s Health and Safety at Work Act establishes an employer’s responsibility to take all reasonable steps to ensure each employee’s safety and the safety of those who engage with the business’s activities.
While your first inclination may be to identify workplace hazards, don’t overlook the importance of good education. Your health and safety manual should clearly describe how each employee should perform every farm activity to avoid injury. Implement training programs to educate your staff on these practices and make it a point for supervisors to ensure your team follows them correctly.
Particular attention should be given to proper machinery training, too. In doing so, you can minimize accidents that are caused by human error, reduce the amount of time that employees are out of work due to injury, and save yourself from falling afoul of workplace health and safety regulations.
Identify Farm Health and Safety Hazards
NZ health and safety legislation requires employers to do the following:
● Identify every workplace safety hazard
● Eliminate said hazards, if possible
● If not possible, isolate those hazards
● Minimize the harm isolated hazards can do
Identifying dangers on your farm should be a collaborative effort between management and staff. Because employees tend to work alone or in small groups in the agricultural industry, they are likely to have different job experiences and diverse perspectives. It’s only through working together and ensuring proper health and safety training for your employees that you’ll be able to define the rules and regulations and confirm that your employees understand.
Likewise, hiring an experienced farm health and safety consultant will bring an additional perspective to the process. At Hastrak, we use our years of experience with past clients to identify potential issues you may have missed.
It’s not enough to ensure that your staff has protective equipment and adequate training. Many agricultural workplaces make use of hazardous materials that need to be labeled appropriately, and a procedure needs to be in place to both handle and dispose of them.
Maintain written and easily accessible training materials for your entire staff. Require each employee to familiarize themselves with the material and to demonstrate that knowledge. While your safety practices should always be outlined in your health and safety manual, you should organize each procedure so that they can be located quickly in case of emergency.
If you don’t already, you need to implement a system for documenting incidents on the job. Rather than worry about what you should specifically note, record everything that has the potential to cause harm, even if injury never occurred.
For example, if an employee finds that a piece of machinery is malfunctioning and reports it without incident, create a record that documents the discovery and how it was addressed. Doing so may seem excessive, but the more comprehensive your documentation is, the more protected you’ll be from liabilities.
HasTrak Knows Farm Health and Safety
Not abiding by NZ safety standards puts your business at risk of hefty fines. Keep your farm and your employees safe with a thorough audit and report from HasTrak’s expert team of health and safety experts.
Avoid crippling fines that could cost you your business. New Zealand health and safety rules and regulations are not simple; even though the “Health & Safety at Work Act” aims to make it straightforward, not every business owner, manager or machine operator has the time and expertise to dive into it and make sure their workplace is 200% compliant with health and safety guidelines.
Too many businesses risk going bankrupt over fines following simple workplace accidents; fines that can easily be avoided by knowing what you’re working with, and having your paperwork up to date.
We’ll help you do exactly that. Get in touch!