A farm safety checklist covers many compliance and work health and safety (WHS) requirements. From a fire safety system to an emergency plan, the checklist is an easy tool to combine the health and safety legislation in Australia.
Consistently using a checklist will ensure your business is compliant with ever-changing legislation. This proactive approach fosters a culture of safety and responsibility for everyone involved in your rural properties.
Why have a farm safety checklist?
A farm safety checklist can identify hazards and effective procedures to control and manage the risks. Here's why having such a checklist is crucial:
- Risk identification: Farm operations are diverse and complex. A checklist will help you identify new potential threats and be proactive with safety procedures.
- Prevention: Once you have identified the risk, you can work to prevent the threat to workers and visitors completely.
- Legal compliance: With many health and safety regulations in Australia, a checklist is an easy way to keep records. The checklist can reduce your risk of getting a fine, penalty or a legal issue.
- Employee and visitor safety: It fosters a safer working environment and shows your business cares.
- Continuous improvement: Completing regular checklists allows you to include new safety measures.
- Reduce mistakes: Accidents and injuries can cause disruptions in productivity and staff morale. Farm safety checklists can ensure you stop avoidable incidents.
- Promoting Safety Culture: Having a checklist ingrains a culture of safety among all involved in farm operations.
In essence, a farm safety checklist acts as a proactive tool to prevent accidents. It ensures legal compliance and prioritises the well-being of everyone associated with the farm. Ultimately, it contributes to a safer and more efficient working environment.
Read out 5 common farm hazards guide for tips on what to include in your farm safety checklist.
Farm Health and Safety Legislation in Australia
Agriculture can be one of the most dangerous industries in Australia due to the following hazards:
- Heavy machinery and vehicles
- Loud noise
- Dusty conditions
- Outside work in adverse weather
Farms are subject to work health and safety laws (WHS) in Australia to help mitigate the number of high risks on site:
- The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines: Cover various aspects of farm animal welfare, such as transporting, housing and selling. The standards are consistent legislation across all states of Australia and the guidelines are recommended practices to implement. Both are continually developed with State Governments, industry organisations and animal welfare groups.
- Safe Work Australia: This legislation states that all involved in Agriculture must have the appropriate skills and experience to carry out their work safely. From employing the right people to implementing extensive workplace training, farm employers must comply with Safe Work Australia rules.
- Biosecurity Act 2015: A shared responsibility between the Australian Government, farm industry and the community to protect Australia from pests and diseases. Farms have a number of requirements under this act that can protect the health and safety of works and the wider community.
- The Agriculture Legislation Amendment Act 2022: This act is mainly in relation to food security and safety and includes requirements for farm storage, chemicals and disease control.
- WHS Requirements (previously OHS): This applies to every business in Australia and includes very specific requirements applicable to the agriculture industry. The legislation covers responsibilities for both persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), contractors and workers. Additionally, WHS duties extend to family members and visitors due to homes or shops on site. Employee and contractor contracts must include a WHS policy.
Farm Health and Safety Legislation in New Zealand
Farms and rural properties in New Zealand are subject to several work health and safety laws (WHS) for risk management:
- WorkSafe New Zealand: Applicable to all businesses in New Zealand, WorkSafe provides guidelines for managing the health and safety of workers. This is especially crucial for agriculture workers who are subject to a higher risk of injury. It emphasises the importance of keeping a farm safety checklist as best practice.
- Health and Safety at Work Act 2015: Requires workers to be given access to the highest level of protection from workplace risks.
- Beef + Lamb New Zealand: An industry organisation that is farmer-owned and operated to represent all sheep and beef farmers on Government legislation and changes.
- Biosecurity Act 1993: The Ministry for Primary Industries oversees the legislation to protect New Zealand's biosecurity and the regulations farms need to follow to protect the land from disease and pests.
Farm Health and Safety Policy Example
WHS laws state both the employers and employees are responsible for work health and safety. As farms are one of the most dangerous industries in Australia and New Zealand, it is vital to include a work health and safety policy in your contracts:
Workplace Health and Safety Policy
At [Farm Name], we are committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for all individuals associated with our farm. We recognise and understand our legal obligations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our employees, contractors and visitors through the following principles:
- Compliance: We adhere to all relevant workplace health and safety laws, regulations, and standards applicable in Australia.
- Risk Management: We actively identify, assess, and manage hazards on our farm premises. We implement control measures to minimise or eliminate potential risks.
- Training and Awareness: We provide necessary training, resources, and information to ensure that all individuals working on or visiting our farm understand and follow safe work practices.
- Emergency Preparedness: We have established effective emergency response procedures, including evacuation plans, first aid provisions, and procedures for managing emergencies.
- Responsibility and Accountability: Every individual associated with our farm, including management, employees, and contractors, is responsible for complying with health and safety policies and contributing to a safe working environment.
By upholding this policy, we aim to create a workplace where everyone feels secure and actively responsible for maintaining a safe and healthy farm environment.
[Signature: Farm Owner/Manager] [Date: Month Day, Year]
Farm Safety Checklist
Download the checklist
Managing Safety With Onside
Rural compliance software can transform farm health and safety regulations and procedures in the workplace. Onside can provide a proactive approach to your farm safety checklist requirements in several ways:
- Digital Checklists and Reporting: The Onside app provides digital checklists which are less time-consuming than paper records. It enables real-time reporting of hazards and secure records for health and safety legislation compliance.
- Risk Management and Awareness: Rather than waiting to complete a manual farm safety checklist, all workers can report incidents and risks immediately. The feature allows farm employers to address issues before the risks increase and communicate with everyone involved.
- Digital Map: Map out all hazards on-site with real-time updates, procedures and visitor logs.
- Visitor Management: The app has a tool to manage visitors on-site and keep records.
- Lone Worker Safety: Have peace of mind that you can easily provide safety information to lone workers on your site.
Onside supports compliance with health and safety legislation. It can simplify safety protocols, enable real-time reporting of risks, and improve overall safety awareness.
Onside was founded in 2015 by individuals with a distinctive combination of expertise in dairy farming, software development, and data science. Juliet Maclean, a founding Dairy Farm business owner and CEO, Michael Falconer, with a background in investment banking and Ryan Higgs, a data scientist.. This diverse group initiated Onside to enhance farm safety procedures through their collective experience.
With over 15,000 agriculture properties using the Onside farming app in Australia to complete their farm safety checklists, there is no easier way to stay compliant.