Preparing for a farm safety inspection
Workplace Safety Inspectors, across Australia, are increasing the number of dairy farm inspections as part of a campaign to improve farm safety.
Some of the key areas they will focus on include: Induction for Farm Employees, Quad Bikes, Milking Operations, Belts and Guarding, Chemical Use and Storage and Silos.
All of these areas are covered in Dairy Australia’s Farm Safety Starter Kit. The Kit has a series of Quick Safety Scans that help you to review each area and identify any changes that you may need to make.
Getting Started: 7 quick tips on safety inspection focus areas
- Induction for Farm Employees – download a Farm Induction Checklist which you can tailor to your farm. Take your employees through the Induction and get them to sign. Make sure you keep a copy to show the Inspectors.
- Quad Bikes – the largest cause of fatalities on our dairy farms.Use the Quad Quick Safety Scan in the Farm Safety Starter Kit. Key areas to cover include the maintenance of the bikes (especially brakes and tyre pressures), employee training (signed off) and the use of approved helmets. A Quad Bike Policy for your farm is a really good idea – download a template here
- Milking Operations – the largest area of work on dairy farms, with plant, power, manual handling and animal hazards to consider. Use the Quick Safety Scans with your employees on Fixed Plant, Power & Electrical, Manual Handling, Working with Livestock and Working Environment – download all the quick safety scans here. Discussing areas of safety with employees is the best way to find and fix hazards (and is also required by law).
- Belts and Guarding – guards prevent contact with moving parts or minimise access to dangerous areas of plant. Hands and fingers must not be able to reach through or around guards. By law, guards must be maintained properly and must not be bypassed or disabled.
- Chemicals – the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for each hazardous chemical has information and instructions on how it can be stored, handled and used safely. Ensure that you have a copy of the current SDS for all hazardous chemicals on your farm. Download the Chemical Quick Safety Scan in the Farm Safety Starter Kit to review your chemical safety.
- Storage and silos – hazards include working at heights and that most of these structures are defined as confined spaces. Signage and set procedures for accessing are very important considerations for safety. Download the Quick Safety Scans for Working at Heights and Confined Spaces in the Farm Safety Starter Kit here
- Record your actions – once you have completed the Quick Safety Scans, add what needs to be done, by how and when in your Action Plan (located in the back of the hard copy Starter Kit or at download here). Workplace safety inspectors will want to see your written records.
An inspection does not have to be a daunting experience. Inspectors are looking for a culture of safety on your farm and genuine steps to achieving a safe workplace. Having started is the critical step.