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WorkSafe’s tips on working in wet and slippery conditions

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Recent rain in much of regional Victoria has boosted opportunities for farm work which has been on hold, but with it comes potential dangers.

For those who have survived the dry conditions, now is not the time to get hurt, a joint message from WorkSafe, the Victorian Farmers Federation, Australian Workers Union and the Country Women’s Association says.

The temptation to take short cuts to get the work done needs to be tempered.

Relying on good luck or experience is a high-risk, high-consequence strategy, WorkSafe’s Director of Manufacturing, Logistics and Agriculture, said.

Working in wet and slippery conditions, particularly on uneven ground needs to be done with caution and it needs to be planned.

The CWA’s Victorian President, urged farm families to get involved in safety because they knew the potential hazards and that if something went wrong, they would be instantly affected.

A serious injury or death on a farm has an enormous impact on that family and others around the district. It is something people do not have to go through.

Taking time to plan your work and making sure everyone knows what is going on is cheap insurance that spares families unnecessary trauma.

The Victorian Farmers’ Federation’s Chief Executive, said equipment can be properly guarded and up-to-date maintenance had to be carried out if work was to be done safely.

Doing this will reduce delays and ensure everyone gets the opportunities now before us. Regional communities have faced tough times, but the job now is to recover and make up for lost time. You cannot do that from a hospital bed.

Protect yourself, your family and worker simple safety steps, can make a real difference.

The Australian Workers Union’s State Secretary, said safety was not just a matter for people doing work, but the entire community.

Injuries and deaths on farms are not accidents. Everyone knows of cases where something has been done or not done that has caused tragedy.

Employers and workers have to consult on how to get the job done safely.

Unless everyone has a safe workplace the broader community suffers, opportunities to earn a living are reduced and opportunities to enjoy life outside work will continue to be stolen.

Work-related deaths in country areas were well-down when compared with the metro area – 5 out of 12 fatalities this year, including two on-farm – the hidden toll was in serious injuries which included amputations, burns, head injuries, and damaged backs.

All have a role to play to protect ourselves, workmates and loved ones. You do not have to wait until tragedy strikes before saying that should be fixed.

How can my farm be made safer?

  • Think about the known and potential risks and how they will be managed
  • How is the work going to be done, by whom and what equipment is needed
  • Plan the work. Brief everyone involved and ensure they are capable of doing what is expected Ensure they are trained in how to use the equipment they’ll be using
  • Fatigue, anticipate the demands of the work, make sure no one gets over tired and build adequate rest breaks in to the schedule

  • Do a safety check on the equipment
  • Is the necessary guarding in place on power take offs or other equipment
  • Is the hydraulics in good order? If you can work under something, chock it
  • Do the brakes work properly
  • Do all tractors have rollover protection? Old tractors without rollover protection
  • Which are only brought out for odd jobs can be upgraded or stay in the shed
  • WorkSafe inspectors frequently find tractors without rollover protection although it has been compulsory for many years
  • Ensure there is safe clearance between farm equipment and trucks near power lines
  • Take care when jump-starting tractors and other equipment. Jump-starting can over-ride some safety features
  • Do not start tractors and other equipment from ground level while standing between the wheels. Tractors left in gear cause deaths and serious injuries each year
  • Keep children away from areas where work is underway

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