Agriculture, forestry and fishing
Businesses that grow crops, raise animals, grow and harvest timber, and harvest fish and other animals from farms or their natural habitats, fall within the agriculture industry.
There are two basic activities captured in this category:
- production, eg raising beef cattle, off shore prawn fishing, felling of plantation trees
- support services to production, eg fruit picking, wool classing.
Top causes of injury
There are a vast range of activities and workplaces within this industry. Each workplace presents its own safety challenges. But, across the industry, common causes of injuries are:
- unsafe use of quad bikes
- manual tasks and repetitive motion
- hearing loss due to noise
- incorrect and unsafe use of hazardous chemicals
- injuries from farm animals.
Working in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry is physically demanding and workers face challenges of working outdoors, working in all types of weather and conditions, and often working in regionally isolated areas. These aspects of the work complicate the safety risks.
Each workplace is different though. You need to know what the hazards are in your business so you can assess the risk they pose.
To help you get started, we’ve prepared information on how to identify hazards and manage the risks common to the agriculture sector, including:
- quad bikes
- manual handling
- animal handling
- electrical work and working near overhead powerlines
- biosecurity hazards
- tree work (arboriculture)
Resources to help you
As the work health and safety regulator in NSW, we have a wide range of technical, business, management and support services to help you make our business safe.
You can find specific information on:
Our 'resource' and 'hazard' libraries
We also have extensive information that will help you improve and review your risk management processes. This includes videos, checklists, training and supervisory information, and safety alerts.
SafeWork Australia also has a fact sheet on developing a hazardous chemicals register.
Our safety management resources
Our Safety starts here section has a range of essential resources including:
- business must haves like emergency plans and first aid
- the basics for physical safety at work
- the basics for mental health at work
Our business resources
Our safety support services
If you employ fewer than 50 workers, you can book request a workplace advisory visit by one of our SafeWork inspectors who will help you identify hazards and develop risk management procedures.
Our mentor program, where other businesses work with you to improve safety in your workplace, is also a valuable addition to your risk management program.
You can call us on 13 10 50 at any time for assistance in finding the services you need quickly.
Keeping up to date
Get into the habit of checking our website twice a week for updates on your legislative obligations, on current incidents and prosecutions, for new safety tips and general health and safety information.
Subscribe to the SafeWork Wrap, our monthly newsletter, which contains safety tips, general information, industry updates, and news about our prosecutions and enforceable undertakings.
Visit the Alive and Well website and hear stories about staying safe on the farm from agriculture workers just like you.
Subscribe to industry publications and join your industry groups. Some of the relevant industry groups include:
- For farmers: National Farmers Federation (NFF)
- For commercial fish operations owners: Commonwealth Fisheries Association (CFA)
- For forest products growers and support: Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA)
- For agriculture and fisheries workers: Australian Workers’ Union (AWU)
- For forestry workers: The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).
The NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and the NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (WHS Regulation) define the obligations both employers and workers have to health and safety in the workplace.
You can find a complete breakdown of business operations that fall within the administrative and support services industry from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).