Farming

You know that looking after yourself, your family, workers and visitors to your farm is the right thing to do. It’s also essential for keeping your farm running.

Our new farming self-assessment tool will help you identify where you’re doing well and where you need to improve.

Alive and well

Farms can be dangerous places – whether it's dealing with farm machinery, working with livestock, keeping kids safe, feeling down or getting back to work after an injury – there is help and support available to keep you and your family alive and well.

Alive and Well is our farm safety campaign. It features farmers talking to farmers about their own near-miss experiences, and how to stay safe on the farm.

Visit aliveandwell.net.au to view farmers' stories, share your own, or get information on help and support available for the farming community.

We also offer rebates and other assistance to help mange farm safety.

Agricultural chemical awareness

The agricultural sector uses a variety of pesticides to protect plants, animals and agricultural products from harmful pests and diseases.

Many of these pesticides contain hazardous chemicals that can have short and long-term health effects if not managed safely.

Know your chemicals

Below is some information on hazardous chemicals you may have come into contact with.

Benzene in diesel/petrol emissions

Exposure to diesel and petrol exhaust emissions has been identified as an emerging health risk in the agriculture industry.

One of the best ways to stay safe is to use safer engines and cleaner fuels – eg low emission technology, emission control devices such as particle filters, ultra-low sulphur diesel, compressed natural gas or electricity.

Read the fact sheet below for more information.

Chlordimeform

Chlordimeform is a pesticide that was used extensively by aerial spraying on cotton crops in the north-western region of NSW between 1978 and 1986 and on other crops before 1976.

It was banned from use after serious health effects presented with overseas workers who manufactured the pesticide. Chlordimeform was commonly known as CGS500 or CGS800 in Australia.

Read the fact sheet below for more information.

Organophosphate

Various sectors of the agricultural industry use OP pesticides and exposure can have short term and long term health issues if not used safely.

OP pesticides are easily absorbed by inhalation, through the skin, by ingestion, and through the mucous membranes and eyes, if not properly protected during use.

Read the fact sheet below for more information.

Tips to stay safe

  • substitute hazardous chemicals for safer alternatives
  • read your up-to-date safety data sheet and labels which will tell you all about the chemicals you are working with as well as how to store and handle them safely
  • stay in the loop about banned products
  • wear the right protective gear
  • consider other ground workers or family who might be exposed eg via clothing
  • alert workers and family about the risks associated with the chemicals you are using
  • talk to your employer if you are unsure of anything, or contact us
  • talk to your doctor if you notice a change in your health

You can also watch our agricultural chemicals and pesticides video safety below for steps on how avoid exposure.

Animal handling

Farmers risk serious injury or even death when handling livestock. These risks are greatest when pens and yards are poorly designed, animal handling practices are unsafe, animals are bad-tempered, or when training is inadequate.

The NSW sheep and beef cattle action plan 2013-14 has an overview of the risks facing the sheep and beef cattle industry and the steps taken to address them.

In addition, the Working with livestock fact sheet has a list of practical solutions to animal handling hazards and the Department of Primary Industries has information on cattle yards and equipment.

A video on the proper design of corrals, yards, races and chutes can be found on YouTube.

Tractors and quad bikes

Tractors and quad bikes can be useful pieces of equipment, but they are also very dangerous when used incorrectly.

Visit the quad bike page for more information and advice about quad bikes.

The farm machinery fact sheet and WorkSafe Victoria's Quad bikes on farms guide provide safety recommendations when working on tractors and quads.

Occupational diseases

Working on the farm can be hot and noisy. Farmers can also be prone to diseases passed on by animals.

The farming environment fact sheet has a list of recommendations to address heat, noise and zoonosis (animal-borne diseases).

Isolation and financial pressures can also take their toll, however there is help available. The pressures on farmers fact sheet has information on the types of help available.

Child safety

Farms can be wonderful places for children to grow up, but they can also be dangerous. There are many risks for children on farms such as drowning in the dam, falling off a quad bike, and poisoning by hazardous chemicals.

The child safety on farms fact sheet has a helpful list of recommendations and resources to make sure children are kept out of harm's way when growing up on a farm.

The 'How many hazards can you find?' education tool is great way to get children involved and understand the safety risks present on farms.

Silos, augers, field bins and chaser bins

During harvesting season you need to make sure everyone gets home safely during this busy time of the year.

If you are an employer, self-employed person, controller, or owner of a workplace and plant, use this fact sheet to help keep your farm safe and productive

Get grain safe and keep your farm safe and productive during the harvest season.

This fact sheet is also available in PDF.

Returning to work after an incident or injury

There is strong evidence that work promotes recovery and reduces the risk of long term disability and work loss.

The State Insurance Regulatory Authority provide a range of services and advice to help workers back into work as well as a number of programs that offer support to get you or your farm worker back into work safely.