National Safe Work Australia Month may have just ended, but SafeWork SA is continuing to remind the country about the importance of OHS for the remainder of the year.

Bryan Russell, SafeWork SA executive director, says those in industrial sectors such as agriculture needed to be extra cautious. As temperatures warm up with the promise of a fruitful season ahead, employers and employees alike are being reminded to keep on top of work health and safety.

“We know that farming is a high-risk occupation, and as the sector gears up for harvesting and shearing we remind everyone working at this busy time of year to ensure that they are working safely having managed known risks,” said Mr Russell in an October 31 statement.

He noted that farm workers had unique risks and hazards they had to manage due to the nature of their jobs. These arise from circumstances such as working with heavy machinery and dangerous equipment, and working alone.

Some of the most common injuries suffered by these workers included falling from height, rollovers and crashes on farm vehicles, and body stress sustained from improper manual handling.

The high risk factor of working in this sector cannot be ignored. According to Safe Work Australia, the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry has claimed the most workplace fatalities this year, with 38 deaths to date in 2013.

SafeWork SA has offered some safety tips for the upcoming harvest season. Firstly, workers are encouraged to “develop a simple safety plan and stick to that plan”.

This plan can involve everything from ensuring all equipment and machinery are properly safeguarded, not entering field bins or silos when grain is being emptied, staying hydrated and taking regular breaks.

“A truly successful harvest is a safe, injury-free harvest,” Mr Russell concluded.

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