Supply and use of turf (sod) harvesters - Position paper (Revised 31 July 2017)
This paper is designed to provide information to people who supply or use hand stacking turf harvesters.
In 2014, a fatally injured worker was found on the ground between the front and rear wheels of a turf harvester being reversed.
From 1 October 2018+
- supply and use of turf harvesters is restricted to either;
- fully automatic, or
- hand stacking harvesters that are fitted with measures to control the risks of persons falling off, and being run over by reversing harvester.*
SafeWork will be monitoring compliance with the requirements.
+ The date of compliance was reviewed on 31 July 2107.
* control measures are detailed below.
Control measures – Engineering
The following measurements should be used for controlling the risk of persons falling off and/or being run over by reversing harvester.
The design and installation of safety controls must be undertaken by a competent person.
For automatic harvesters
For hand stacking harvesters
The Stacker falling or exiting into the path of a reversing harvester
Not applicable as there is no person at the back of the harvester
Drivers getting on or off moving harvesters (a foreseeable misuse) and being run over
Install interlocks that prevents operation of the harvester unless the driver is seated
Install platforms between the front and rear wheels and wheel guards.
People getting crushed between harvesters and objects (eg workshop wall)
Install reversing alarms and reversing cameras
Install reversing alarms and reversing cameras.
People on the paddock being hit by the harvester
Consider installing obstruction alarms
Consider installing obstruction alarms.
Control measures – Systems of work, Supervision and Training
In addition to the above controls, you must also provide appropriate systems of work, supervision and training to control the risk of persons falling off, and being run over by reversing harvester.
- implement a safe system of work that includes provisions for;
- the use of the harvester in line with the manufacturers recommendations
- the operator to remain in control of the harvester at all times while it is in use
- avoidance of reversing unless necessary
- the stacker to depart the harvester, before it reverses, to move into a safe position where they can be seen by the operator, unless fall prevention measure are installed
- the operator to verify the stacker is in a safe location before reversing
- the operator to monitor the travel path while reversing
- the operator to stop and respond to any obstruction alarm
- prohibition of both drivers and stackers from getting on or off moving plant, even when wheel guards and platforms between the wheels are fitted
- provide training and supervision on all control measures, including the safe systems of work, until all persons are competent in their roles
- consult with workders and regularly monitor the effectiveness of the control measures, systems of work, training and supervision.
Your legal obligation
The Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation requires managing risks so far as is reasonably practicable, either by eliminating them, or if this is not possible, by minimising them in accordance with the hierarchy of control.
The hierarchy only allows lower order controls (such as administrative controls) when higher order controls (substitution, isolation and engineering controls) are not reasonably practicable.
Administrative controls depend on human behaviour, for example safe work procedures that direct a person to stand at a particular location or perform task in a particular order are administrative controls.
- Work Health and Safety Act 2011 – Sections 17 to 26
- Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011
- The code of practice for managing the risks of plant in the workplaces - includes information about guarding, operator controls, emergency stops and warning devices.
- The code of practice on how to manage work health and safety risks - contains information on identifying, assessing and controlling risks.
A hand stacking turf harvester is a harvester that requires a person to manually stack turf or travel at a place on the harvester other than the driver’s cabin.
An automatic harvester is a harvester that stacks turf automatically, requiring only one person to drive the machine.