Managing safety in Australian grain production

RESEARCH HAS shown that agricultural producers and their employees are among the highest risk categories for occupational injury and illness in Australia.

Evidence presented by the National Farm Injury Data Centre shows that non-intentional injury on Australian farms is the primary cause of over 150 deaths, 6,500 hospital admissions and close to 6,000 workers compensation claims
every year.

Farmsafe Australia's Managing Farm Safety course has identified poor occupational health and safety management in the grains industry as adding major cost to the production process. Grain producers are paying for the cost of occupational injury and illness through:

  • delays in gelling farm work done where the farmer or worker is affected
  • payment for medical treatment wages for replacement workers
  • high workers compensation premiums for the industry
  • high accident/disability in surance premiums for the industry
  • payment for rehabilitation services, e.g. physiotherapy.

Activities that contain a high risk of causing injury on Australian grain farms include:

  • harvesting
  • storing and elevating
  • equipment maintenance
  • cultivating
  • spraying
  • loading and carting.

The main causes of injury on Australian grain farms are:

  • augers (25 per cent)
  • headers (20 per cent)
  • dust/particles ( 18 per cent)
  • tractor and linkages (8 per cent)
  • seeders (5 per cent)
  • pesticide (5 per cent)
  • field bin s (4 per cent)

It is not all doom and gloom for the members of th e grains industry. Despite the seeming magnitude of the problem of on-farm occupational health and safety, there are pract ical steps that you can take to manage the risks associated with farm injury and illness. Farmsafe Australia recommends that farmers and farm managers undertake the Managing Farm Safety course to better undertake health and safety management on their properties.

Farmsafe Australia's Managing Farm Safety course

The Managing Farm Safety course has been developed by Farmsafe Australia with the help of farmers, to assist farmers to increase productivity through the development of knowledge and practical skills in managing the risks of injury and illness associated with modem agricultural production techniques.

Recognised by the National Farmers Federation as the agriculture industry 's benchmark for occupational health and safety management, the Managing Farm Safety course enables farm businesses to reduce the financial burden of costs associated with farm accident and injury. It a ims to achieve this by reducing industry-wide workers compensation and farm accident claims, increasing on-farm productivity through ntinintising delays to production caused by farm accident and by helping producers comply with their jurisdictions' occupational health and safety legislation.

Issues covered in the Managing Farm Safety course include:

  • key risks to health and safety on farms
  • implementing safety 'risk management'
  • legal responsibilities of relevant parties
  • assessing workers' safety skills
  • safety induction of farm workers
  • developing a culture of safety on the farm
  • maintaining relevant safety records
  • preparing a farm occupational health and safety plan.

The Managing Farm Safety course has been tailored to meet the needs of farming enterpri ses speciali sing in grains production , providing farm business managers with the resources that have been structured to assist meeting the
requirements of occupational health and safety legislation. These resources include:

  • grain-specific on-farm hazard identification checklist
  • worker and contractor induction templates
  • farm chemical register
  • register of worker training
  • farm injury register
  • a comprehensive set of farm hazard guidance notes that provide instruction on the identification of hazards, the assessment of risks and available control options.

To find out more about on-farm management of occupational health and safety or the Managing Farm Safety course, contact Farm safe Australia on 02 6752 8210 or online at