Farm Safety for Broadacre Cropping

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Firstly, I know you hate it, but it's just a fact of life nowadays whether you like it or not. Just get over it and do a few things around the farm to show you have a 'good intent' when it comes to providing a safe work environment.

  • Test your machinery bearings whilst in use to help prevent fires. An infrared tester can be purchased on-line for about $60 from China. Just point the laser at the part or bearing and it gives you the temperature of the part.
  • In South Australia, you can do an Electrical Testing & Tagging course through TAFE for about $150. Purchase a PAT machine for around $1100 and test all of your Class 1 and Class 2 electrical equipment yourself instead of paying a sparky.
  • Start recording all your machinery maintenance. Just get a notebook for each machine and write it all down. The academic world want to see 'proof' that you have maintained your equipment to a safe level.
  • Designate areas of the main workshop/yard to specific items/tasks. Chemical sheds, oils and fuels, welding zones etc. Paint a walking zone on the shed floor to show a separation of pedestrians and where machinery is parked for maintenance etc.
  • Get some decent fire extinguishers and position them where they may be needed one day
  • Get a large workplace first aid kit and a small portable one for the ute. The contents do need to be in line with the First Aid code of practice. Outlay for it once and it will probably only need minor additions and replacements over the years.
  • Get some signage (for example) 
    • Visitors please report to the workshop, or UHF __
    • Authorised personnel only
    • No Smoking/Flammable Liquids
    • Fire Extinguishers
    • Welding Area/Face Shield Required
    • Chemical Storage, authorised personnel only
    • Eye Protection required. Noise Protection required
    • and the sign above might give some people a 'hint'
There is a lot more to it, but at least make a start with these items, especially if you have employees, you need to implement a safety system. 

You need to record training dates, even if it's you doing the training, it doesn't necessarily have to be off farm training. You, the farmer, are a skilled individual, regardless of what certificates or tickets you have (if any!), you are adequately skilled and experienced to train an employee. Write it down.

If you have an incident on farm, the Safework inspector can choose whether to charge you under the WHS Act or not. If it's a minor incident and you can show you have made some effort towards the safety aspects of the farm, the inspector may very well choose not to charge you.

The Work Health and Safety Act is nothing to do with your employee or farm visitor suing you for an injury. It's a totally separate legal matter and may result in criminal charges and a fine. 

So don't think, "ah, he'll be right, he's my mate, he wont' take it any further". Because once an injury has occurred, it's actually not up to the injured person as to whether you are charged under the WHS Act, it's up to Safework SA. The injured person has no say in that whatsoever.