How to be healthy and safe on farm to protect the productivity of your farm and the lifestyle you enjoy.


Keep safe, keep farming (PDF 1.6 MB)
[image] Keep safe hero


You can prevent many of the injuries and much of the ill-health that take people away from work by planning to manage risk. Each injury or illness means people can’t work, whether it’s for an hour, a day, or permanently. This impacts on the productivity of the farm and on your ability to enjoy the lifestyle offered by living on farm.

Key points

This guide will help you work out:

  • the best way for you to identify, manage and communicate health and safety risks to family and workers
  • what part other people on farm should play in risk management.

It’s about people and productivity

What needs to happen to make your farm healthy and safe?

  • Everyone stand up and be responsible: Health and safety does not happen without the boss and everyone else getting in behind it.
  • Everyone get involved: The more people involved in managing risk, the more likely the risk will be managed. More people making a farm healthy and safe will mean fewer people will get injured or sick.
  • Keep at it: Managing risk is not about documents and manuals. It’s about thinking and talking about risks and doing what needs to be done to stay healthy and safe every day.
  • Stay vigilant: Farms change from day-to-day. So do the risks. Make sure everyone on farm knows about the risks on your farm, how they can change with the time of day, the season of the year, or a person’s emotional or physical state.

The bottom line

Health and safety does not need to be complicated – you can make it simple and practical to meet the needs of your business. Think about risk before doing tasks.

How can I use this guide?

This guide is designed for those in charge of the farm. Others who are involved in the farm may find it useful.

[image] Farm manager

I am in charge of the farm day-to-day

Use this guide to make sure you have done what is necessary to create a healthy and safe workplace. You are responsible for the health and safety of people who work for you or who are involved in, or affected by, the work on your farm. You are also responsible for the health and safety of others that may come onto your farm – you are expected to do what is reasonable and practicable. You need to talk with your workers and visitors about health and safety, and make sure they participate in farm health and safety.

[image] Company director

I am a company director, trustee, or business partner

Use this to understand what is required on farm and the effort you need to put in over time. You have an obligation to exercise ‘due diligence’. This means, for example, you need to make sure you are up-to-date with health and safety requirements, you have a general understanding of the risks associated with operating your business, and that the business has available, and uses, appropriate resources to deal with the risks.

[image] Contractor

I am a contractor or visitor to the farm

Use this to understand how your health and safety procedures overlap with those of the farm. You have a responsibility to work with the farm business to make sure you all understand how to deal with any risks on farm — and to make sure that the farm understands and works with you to manage any risks your work may bring.

[image] Worker

I work on farm

Use this to understand your requirements for health and safety on farm. You have a responsibility to look after your own health and safety, and to make sure there is nothing you do that puts others in danger. You have a right to be kept healthy and safe in the workplace by your employer. This guide shows what the business you work for is required to do and how you can participate.

What do I have to do?

Here are the basics. You must:

  • be able to show you are managing your work risks
  • identify and manage both health risks and safety risks to people in your workplace
  • monitor the health of workers and workplace conditions to prevent illness and injury
  • include workers and family in planning to make the farm healthy and safe
  • train and supervise people who work on farm
  • make sure workers and family know how to manage risks
  • keep a record of notifiable events
  • have procedures for dealing with workplace emergencies
  • have safe and healthy facilities for workers
  • make sure machinery and systems are safe for workers to use
  • provide and make sure personal protective equipment is used where appropriate.

Why planning for risk is important

Planning to avoid injury and work-related ill-health makes sense. Too many people rely on instinct rather than planning and as a consequence people get sick or injured, or are impaired or killed. The law compels you to put in place the steps that people should take to keep themselves or their family and workmates healthy and safe.

Planning to manage risk should not concentrate solely on injury. You must plan for the impact work can have on workers’ health, and the impact workers’ health can have on their work.

Engagement, participation and representation

An important part of everyone being safe and healthy is involving them in managing risk. We have included ways of doing this in the guide, as well as a fact sheet at the end of this guide.

Check your farm against the self-assessment table (PDF 60 KB) [PDF, 46 KB].

Make a healthy and safe workplace important

Make a decision....

  • Planning to manage risk is a conscious decision.
  • Being healthy and safe requires investing time and thought.
  • The person in charge has to model the right behaviours.
  • Everyone on farm has to believe it’s the right thing to do.

Suggested activities to get you started

Health and safety doesn’t just happen. It takes a conscious decision to make sure all the pieces are in place to prevent people from being hurt or becoming ill. Relying on everyone ‘just doing the right thing’ doesn’t actually reduce the number of illnesses or injuries.

Activity: Sit down as a team (include family) and answer these three questions and then pin them where everyone can see them:

  • “Why do we want a safe and healthy farm?”
  • “What will we do to be a safe and healthy farm?”
  • “How will we make sure everyone who comes to our farm is safe and healthy?”

Invest time and thought in planning to be healthy and safe, and it will pay dividends in productivity.

People are a really important part of the farm and planning for them is just as important as any other planning.

Planning is only one part of making a farm healthy and safe. More than anything, it involves leadership. At the core of this is a boss who wants everyone on farm to be healthy and safe, and leads the way with their own actions. It’s not just the boss who needs to lead. Each supervisor and every individual needs to be able to say “we can do this a healthier and safer way”.

Activity: Each person in the team should answer this question:

  • “What am I going to do to lead health and safety on this farm?”

There will always be people who say one thing and do another. Health and safety is an area where you have to judge people by their actions.

Activity: As a team, come up with a list of behaviours you want to see on farm. Make these the basis of your ‘farm rules’.

Do the planning

Create a healthy and safe farm

  • Be prepared by planning.
  • This is not a complex task.
  • The important thing is to identify risks and work out how to manage them.
  • Your plan is only as good as the way it is implemented and how up-to-date it is.
  • People who work on farm need to be involved in the planning.
  • It’s no use doing the work then not telling people about it.

Prior planning prevents poor performance

Doing the planning has two purposes:

  • It means the thinking about risks and how they will be managed is already done and up-to-date before work starts.
  • It enables this thinking to be communicated to everyone who needs to know.

Health and safety planning consists of:

  • Systematically identifying things from work that can cause ill-health and injury to people, and determining how those things can be eliminated or minimised.
  • Making sure farm workers or other people working or living on farm are involved in identifying and managing risks.
  • Making sure workers and visitors to the workplace are well-informed about the risks they might face while on site and are prepared to manage those risks.
  • Consulting with workers and family if you are planning changes that could affect health and safety.

You don’t need to have large folders full of health and safety jargon. How you choose to record risks and risk management actions, and how you communicate with visitors, contractors, employees, directors or between farms, is up to you — so long as it is effective.

By identifying risks and planning for them with your workers and family, you’re less likely to miss any issues, or good solutions. There is a requirement that workers on farm should be actively engaged in decision making on health and safety matters.

The ‘workplace’ on a farm is farm buildings, and any part of the farm immediately around those buildings that are necessary for farm operations, as well as any part of the farm where work is being carried out. This doesn’t include the farmhouse.

Risk management

We have divided this process into three parts. You might do them one after the other, or you can do all three parts together.

[image] Diagram showing risk management cycle

If you’re a bit stuck about where to start, the WorkSafe Good Practice Guide Managing health and safety: A guide for farmers lists common risks and hazards on farm, Do this with workers and family.

View our table of potential risks on farm (PDF 43 KB) [PDF, 34 KB].

Identifying risks

[image] Farmer pointing and worker beside him looking over fence with speed limit sign - sheep, lamb and bull in paddock beyond

First up, you need to work out what has the potential to hurt people on your farm or make them unwell. You don’t need to spend time identifying and analysing every possible risk on farm. You should focus on those that could result in injuries or ill-health.

Activity: Identify the risks to people on farm. There are a number of different ways of making sure you have covered most possibilities. For example:

  • List all the activities you do on farm. For each activity think about what could cause you harm or ill-health as a result of doing that activity.
  • Some of these things will be seasonal. To give you a start we have included a table that lists some common tasks and the most common health risks or injuries that can come from these. But you need to think beyond them.
  • Remember that this isn’t just about injury. Think broadly about what other harm can happen, such as diseases that can be caught from animals, or hearing damage from exposure to noise, or lung damage from fumes.
  • List all the equipment you use on farm. For each piece of equipment, think about what could happen when using the equipment that might cause you harm or illness. Again, think about accidents you have had. Our table in the inserts at the back covers some common machinery.
  • List the features on your farm, like yards, gates, sheds, bridges, streams and ditches, hills, bush and forest, tracks and races. Is there anything that could happen because of those features that isn’t covered by the other thinking you have done? Our table shows some of these features.

Managing risks

[image] Fenced farm paddock showing sheep, lambs, bull, tractor with farm buildings, trees and hills in the background

The greater the potential harm, the more you should do to manage the risk. So, the risks you need to pay special attention to are those that are likely to occur frequently and result in injuries or ill-health, or those that are not so frequent but could have a major effect (like death or serious injury).

If you have contractors who frequently work on your farm, make sure you get their input on risks and other issues. They might have some good ideas from their work on other farms.

Activity: Go through the risks and think about what you can do to prevent the chance of injury and ill-health. Here are some questions to work through:

  • Can we eliminate this risk? If it is reasonably practicable, you must do so. This is explained on the next page.
  • If we can’t eliminate it, how can we effectively minimise risk to people?
    • Can we do things differently to make it healthier and safer?
    • How do we maintain the equipment we use so it is safe and healthy to use?
    • Can we alter the tools or equipment to make them safer or healthier to use?
    • Do we need better training?
    • Do I need to provide protective gear?

What does reasonably practicable mean?

Businesses must always consider first whether they can reasonably eliminate risks. If not, they must take reasonably practicable steps to minimise risks under health and safety laws. But what might this mean for your business?

Reasonably practicable means what is reasonably able to be done in the circumstances.

It DOES mean you need to:

  • determine what kind of risks are caused by your work
  • consider how likely those risks are to occur and what harm could result if they did
  • take appropriate action that is proportionate to the injury or ill-health that could occur
  • implement well-known and effective industry practices
  • involve your staff in identifying and controlling risks.

It DOESN’T mean you have to:

  • do everything humanly possible to prevent accidents
  • buy the most expensive equipment on the market
  • spend the bulk of your week on health and safety training, compliance and documentation.

This is about taking responsibility for what you can control.

Overall, it means that you MUST do what was at the time reasonably able to be done by taking into account the likelihood and severity of harm, what people should reasonably know about, and the availability, suitability, and cost of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk. If cost is to be considered, the test should be whether the cost is ‘grossly disproportionate’ to the risk.

Communication and keeping things up-to-date

[image] Man and woman discussing farm map spread out on a vehicle bonnet

You need to make sure that people on farm know about the risks that will affect them and how to manage those risks.

By thinking through the ways of managing the risks, you have done a big piece of work. To make sure all that effort isn’t wasted, it needs to be part of everyday activity on farm.

  • “Who else needs to know about this risk and how to control it?”
  • “What is the best way to tell them?”

Risk management is only effective if it is up-to-date. The best way to make sure this happens is to talk about risks and make sure new ones are noted. Sometimes there are sudden changes (new equipment, or tomos opening up) and there needs to be a system for these to be recorded and promptly managed.

Activity: Work out when it is best to update your risk analysis and who should do this. Ask the following questions:

  • “When we notice a new risk, how do we make sure everyone who needs to know is aware?”
  • “When should we have a total review of our analysis so we are completely up-to-date? Who should be involved?”

A written record can be a good way of making sure communication is the same for everyone.

What should you record about risks?

You must be able to show you are effective at managing your work risks. Don’t create loads of paperwork. Note the main points about the risks you identified and what you decided to do.

View our risk register template

Risk register template (PDF 63 KB)

Making it work

Being healthy and safe at work

  • Is in minds and behaviour, not in documents.
  • Needs to be visible.
  • Needs to be a part of everyday activity, not an ‘add-on’.
  • Requires everyone to be involved.
  • Results in fewer injuries and less ill-health when people look out for each other.

It’s about looking after yourself and others

You have made the decision to be healthy and safe, and you’ve put the effort into thinking about your risks and how to manage them. Now you need to think about them every day. Health and safety doesn’t live in folders and pieces of paper. It happens in people’s minds and behaviour.

The best way to get people (including yourself) to treat health and safety as an everyday activity is to make sure it is part of everyday activity — not just an ‘add-on’. Here are two things that may help you achieve that:

  1. Have farm rules
  2. When directing tasks, try to consider the following:
    • What needs doing?
    • Who is doing it and who needs to know about it?
    • How are we going to do it?
    • What tools/vehicles etc are needed?
    • What are the possible risks?

The evidence is overwhelming – if you make time to discuss health and safety before doing a task, the chances of having an injury incident or experiencing ill-health go way down. It doesn’t need to be a formal meeting. Make sure everyone has the same plan of looking after themselves and each other.

Keep people involved

Involving people is a key part of making injury prevention part of your everyday farm routine. Talking about health and safety doesn’t need to be formal. It’s a chance for people to share their experience and information about what they know about the current state of the farm, or to bring up a maintenance issue that needs addressing. Make it easy for workers to raise health and safety issues, or to make suggestions. Set up a white board, for example, in a place where people regularly go.

It’s also an opportunity to bring up any near-misses, so that the team can learn from others’ experiences. You want to encourage an open environment where people can discuss things that have gone wrong and where people are not afraid to point out when something poses a risk.

Getting people started

You want everyone involved and thinking about health and safety, but how do you start? Here are some suggestions:

  • Make health and safety the first item at any meeting or get together — discuss any incidents, injuries or near misses, see if anyone has any suggestions about new or upcoming seasonal risks, or any new ways of doing things. If any actions come out of it, make sure you note them down in your notebook or diary, and make sure people who weren’t there get informed. Don’t be afraid to ask other workers to lead this part of the meeting.
  • It doesn’t need to be a formal part of a briefing, just: “Ok, so what do we have to look out for?” when planning each day’s work, or seasonal work ahead of time. It’s a chance for people to share their experience and information about what they know about the current state of the farm, or to bring up a maintenance issue that needs addressing.

Allocating tasks

One of the biggest dangers on farm is assuming that everyone is thinking the same way. ‘Brief back’ is a well-proven method of making sure everyone is on the right track. It is also a great training tool for younger or less experienced staff.

  • Outline the task.
  • Ask the person (people) to work out how they are going to do it.
  • Ask them to brief you on:
    • what the required outcome is
    • what factors they took into account
    • how they are going to do the task.
  • If you have problems with what they are proposing, think about what factor(s) they have missed. Don’t correct them, instead ask whether they considered these factor(s), and if not, what difference that makes to their plan.
  • Once everyone is agreed on the task and the method, they can proceed.

Health and safety legislation requires employers to engage workers in the whole risk management process. View our information sheet on worker engagement and participation (PDF 120 KB) [PDF, 116 KB].

What does a health and safety management system look like?

A system is made up of a number of components which work together to have a desired result.

In this case, the desired result is everyone getting home from work healthy and uninjured.

The basic components that make up a health and safety system are:

  • identifying and analysing risk
  • putting in place ways of eliminating the risk, and where this isn’t possible, of reducing the risk
  • having everyone committed to being safe and healthy, and to keeping others safe and healthy
  • making sure everyone is competent at what they are doing, or supervised if they aren’t
  • being prepared for emergencies
  • learning from incidents
  • continually checking to make sure this is all happening
  • communicating, communicating, communicating.

There are many different ways you can put together a ‘system’ for your farm. It’s up to you how you do that – to make sure it fits with how you operate. There are no ‘right’ ways to do this – just make sure you have covered the ‘must do’ list.

You need to prevent work-related harm to worker’s health, for example noise, chemicals, work-related stress and fatigue.

Make sure you have put in place:

  • controls for work-related health risks
  • processes to check for worker exposure to substances hazardous to health
  • processes to monitor worker’s health, especially when monitoring is prescribed
  • checks to make sure you are acting when monitoring shows health risks are not being managed.

Businesses are encouraged to promote the general health and well being of workers; for example by reducing the risk of obesity and other lifestyle diseases, and contributing to worker resilience and wellbeing.

Write down your actions in the farm diary

Don’t burden yourself with unnecessary paperwork

If most of your health and safety discussions are informal, it isn’t necessary to formally record them. You could, however, jot a few notes in your diary about what was discussed at a particular time and record any actions to be taken, and who is responsible.

You might also note any discussions you have with people who are doing short-term work on farm, such as shearers, fencers, forestry gangs, fertiliser truck drivers etc.

Why do any paperwork?

Paperwork can support good health and safety practice as a means of supporting memory, by helping to plan future work, and as a simple, easy-to-read reference sheet on actions you and others will take.

Is this enough?

Yes. There is no legal requirement to keep records about these types of conversations, nor is there any compulsion to have every visitor sign some paper each time they come on farm. Obviously, you need to know when people are on your farm. Your obligation is to understand the risks both parties bring to the farm, to work out how these are going to be managed, and to agree on who is managing what, and how. This doesn’t need to involve loads of paperwork.

Farm rules

What are farm rules?

Farm rules are very basic rules that you set for yourself and your workers about the way you want things to happen on your farm and the behaviours you all expect of each other.

Why farm rules are important

Farm rules create boundaries that you want people to work within, they set your expectations as a farm owner/manager and make it clear to people on your farm what you will or will not tolerate.

What should they look like?

How they look is up to you. Record the rules in short and simple sentences. You might have rules for different parts of the farm — shed rules, vehicle rules, general behaviour rules, or you might have one set for everything.

Here are some examples:

  • Watch out for each other – speak up if you think something is dangerous.
  • No untrained people to drive farm vehicles.
  • Farm speed limit is 30kph – no exceptions.
  • No vehicles in ‘no-go’ zones – see red areas on farm map.
  • Always wear helmets on two wheelers and quad bikes.
  • PTO shafts must always be guarded.
  • Wear helmets, ear muffs and chaps when using a chain saw.
  • Handlers using chemicals must be verified or supervised and must always wear protective equipment.

Consider what you will do if workers don’t follow the rules – make sure people are aware of the consequences. You should include in employment contracts a statement that says any breach of health and safety rules will be treated as serious misconduct.

How should i make and communicate farm rules?

Get everyone involved in making the farm rules. Make sure everyone on farm knows and understands the rules and the consequences of breaching them.

Make it clear that these are minimum standards. Discuss them throughout the year.

  • Print them on a piece of paper and put them up on the wall of the work room.
  • Give everyone a copy – if people have language difficulties, talk it through with them.
  • Talk to your lawyer about incorporating a reference to them in existing employment contracts.
  • Obey them – if the boss doesn’t do it, why would a worker take them seriously?
  • Enforce them!

Farm hazard map

What is a farm map?

A farm map can be an aerial photograph, a land title map, or even a hand-drawn sketch, showing the boundaries of your farm. If you have an Agribase or FarmIQ account you will already have an electronic version.

If you are using a farm map to provide information for other people, try to use one that shows:

  • Paddock boundaries.
  • Main tracks/yards around the farm.
  • The location and size of buildings on farm.

How is a farm hazard map different?

To take a farm map and turn it into a farm hazard map, simply draw the location of any hazards on it. A hazard is a potential source of harm that could have an adverse effect on people.

Hazards you could include:

  • Pits and effluent ponds.
  • Chemical or fuel stores.
  • No-go zones: steep banks, drop-offs, gullies or cliffs.
  • Weather or season-specific places that shouldn’t be accessed at certain times, or in particular circumstances.
  • Suspended wires or power cables.

Make copies of the map so you can discuss the hazards and the risks they pose with workers or contractors.

Why it is important

The farm map is an easy way of communicating the layout of your farm to people and for pointing out where hazards are. This helps you communicate with others where physical risk is located and aids the discussion about how it can be managed.

How should i use it?

Make copies of your farm hazard map once you’ve completed it and put a copy on the wall of the work room or implement shed. Keep some copies in your office/diary and give it to whoever you think needs it — whether it’s a new worker, or a contractor. An electronic copy can be easily emailed.

You can give people copies of it, draw and write instructions on it and generally use it to make things very clear where people can go, the hazards they might face and what you want them to do. Some farmers put the farm rules or parts of the emergency plan on the back, so contractors and visitors have no excuse! Update it with information that comes to hand, such as a recently sprayed paddock, or where you have put the new offal pit.

Emergency plan

What is an emergency plan?

An emergency plan is a document that sets out what to do in an emergency and contains key farm information that will help people in an emergency.

Why it is important

A plan makes sure all the information you need is in one place and everyone can access it. The plan means the thinking is done in advance and people can quickly respond.

How do I create an emergency plan?

Consider events that would constitute an emergency — fire, flood, serious injury or injury in remote location, or chemical spill etc. The emergency plan is created so that if the worst does happen, you and other people on farm are prepared.

For each emergency scenario, identify the action that can be taken, the equipment needed, where the equipment is stored, which emergency services to call and the information to provide them etc. This information should be recorded in the emergency plan.

How do I use it?

The emergency plan is something that all new workers should be made aware of. The plan should be given to, and discussed periodically with, all the people on farm, including children. Store a copy of it in a place where everyone can find it.

View our emergency plan template (PDF 32 KB) [PDF, 26 KB]

Key information to record in your emergency plan:

  • List contacts for family and employees, and where people can meet after a disaster to assess the situation and work out a response. Also list who can help in an emergency.
  • If you don’t have mobile coverage, list where landline phones can be found.
  • List emergency contacts.
  • Describe the farm’s location and directions from the nearest major intersection. This means that someone unfamiliar with the area can direct emergency personnel to the farm and knows where to meet them.
  • Provide a diagram of the farm that includes the location of chemicals, fuels, equipment, and overhead and buried utilities etc. Include possible helicopter landing sites and GPS co-ordinates.
  • List essential equipment that is needed for the farm to have power if there is a power outage or natural disaster. Educate all family members and employees on how to use the emergency equipment.
  • Describe where important farm and personal documents are kept.
  • If animals or animal products are entering the food chain, identify a way of marking animals or products that need to be withheld. Work out a disposal method if there is a disaster.

Training register

What is a training register?

A training register lists the training that you and your staff have had that is relevant to the job. You can also list the skills your workers have and your observation of how they do their job. A training register is not compulsory.

Why it is important

People are injured or become ill doing tasks when they do not fully understand the risks. Training on how to do a job safely helps avoid injuries and ill-health. As the farm owner or manager, you are expected to understand the knowledge and experience of staff before deciding if the person is capable of doing a job. If they are not up to a standard you are comfortable with, you need to provide or arrange supervision or training to get them there. This register is a record of how well people are prepared for tasks.

Key information to record

The training register should list the person’s name, the equipment or task they have been trained on, the training date, the training provider, and the person’s signature to confirm that they had the training. If certificates have an expiry date, record it in the register so you can check to see if people are up-to-date.

Does informal training count and how do i know what new employees can do?

People often get experience and training by doing things on the job, rather than by completing formal training courses. This type of training is perfectly ok, but the person does not get a formal certificate. This makes it hard for employers to work out what experience new employees have. Whether they have a certificate or not, you should observe the new employees doing tasks with equipment so you can assess their ability. Think about what would demonstrate they are, or are not, safe. Get them to do some typical tasks to see if they do them correctly. For example, did they put the PTO shaft cover on, did they practise ‘active’ riding, did they lift the calf properly? You should make a note of these observations and of your assessment of the employees’ ability to undertake the tasks.

What does it look like?

The training register could be a record at the back of your farm diary of all the formal or informal training, but is more likely to be a simple list for each person on the farm. We have provided an example of a training register that you could use, or you can set up a form on your computer, or in a notebook. Alternatively, you could keep notes of the experience and training your staff receive in your diary.

View our staff training record template (PDF 55 KB) [PDF, 49 KB]

Maintenance record

What is a maintenance record?

A maintenance record contains the details of the maintenance of your farm vehicles, equipment and machinery. Again, it’s not compulsory to keep these records, but it’s a good way of keeping on top of maintenance.

Why it is important

All machinery, vehicles and equipment need maintenance so they remain safe for use. This can be regular and scheduled maintenance to clean the equipment, replace oil, clean or replace filters, grease parts etc, or unscheduled maintenance to fix or replace parts that have broken. A register helps you keep track.

Key information to record

If your work is carried out by an independent mechanic or service technician, then the invoices can be part of the record. If you do your own maintenance, then more details should be kept about what work was done, or what parts were replaced etc.

How should I record that i’m doing it?

Some farms with a lot of equipment might want to keep very formal registers of maintenance undertaken. However, for a lot of smaller farms, notes in a separate section of your diary will work as a maintenance record. This can be a summary page at the front of the diary, with more detailed notes of the work done on the actual date in the diary.

What else can I do?

Many farmers have lists of daily checks to be carried out — such as, bird’s nests in tractors, tyre pressures and so on. These lists encourage good practice.

View our Tractor maintenence checklists (PDF 81 KB) [PDF, 66 KB]

Contractor orientation checklist

What is a contractor orientation checklist?

This checklist includes things that should be discussed with contractors before they start working on your farm. The discussion should result in both parties understanding the risk each other brings to the workplace and agreement on how those risks will be managed.

It is also useful to give the contractor a copy of the farm rules, and a farm hazard map with the hazards specific to their work clearly noted on the map.

Why it is important

Farms are workplaces and subject to New Zealand’s workplace legislation. As a farm operator, you will need to do what is reasonably practicable to make sure that contractors who are doing work on farm are safe from work-related risks.

People who only occasionally work on your farm will not know your farm. Talking to those people about the potential risks and the harm they may face is an important step. This makes sure they are kept as safe as possible while they are working on farm.

The checklist is a reminder to cover all the necessary information to make sure people are properly informed of the risks on farm.

Key information to record

You don’t have to record anything. If you do want to record what you said when you orientate contractors on your farm, make a note in your diary. If the person conducting the farm orientation regularly changes, you can have a separate notebook that all workers can access to record that the orientation occurred. Put the checklist at the front of this notebook so nothing is missed.

Some farmers have a separate form where they sign people in and out, but it is more useful to record what you have told people than to have a signature.

View our contractor induction checklist (PDF 44 KB) [PDF, 48 KB]

Injury incident and near-miss report

What is an accident and near-miss report?

An accident and near miss report is a useful tool for recording incidents and near-misses. This means the farm has a record of things that have gone wrong and what actions were taken to prevent the accident from happening again in the future.

Why it is important

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, stuff happens. Whether it is a near-miss, an injury, ill-health, or a fatality, we should take the chance to step back and examine if there are any lessons to be learnt. Learning from our own and others’ mistakes is an important part of reducing the likelihood of people getting injured on farm. You should record not only the harm, but where it occurred, what equipment was used and whether the incident was the result of an identified risk. Also record actions taken, such as updates to the risk register, training required, or new schedules for machinery maintenance.

Involve your workers in discussions about ways to manage risk.

Discuss these incidents on farm in an open manner to encourage people to come forward to talk about incidents, rather than trying to cover them up.

Sharing knowledge is important for raising awareness of how things can go wrong.

Key information to record

Record how the accident occurred and what remedial actions you took to prevent the incident occurring again.

How should I record that i’m doing it?

We have included a form that helps everyone report incidents, and also to help investigate them, to make sure you have the full story. Aside from the form, some farms also have a board which lists the latest accidents. This means everyone is aware of what has happened.

We’ve had an incident – What do we do?

  • Investigate every injury, incident or reported near-miss.
  • Make a record of what happened.
  • Work with the team to prevent incidents recurring.

View our incident and near-miss report template (PDF 49 KB) [PDF, 55 KB]

If the incident is notifiable under the Health and Safety at Work Act, you should:

  • Preserve the scene
  • Report it as soon as possible to WorkSafe (0800 030 040)
[image] Silhouette of farmer with two cows at sunset