If you own or manage a farm, you’re responsible for ensuring the health and safety of your workers and anyone who’s affected by what they do.
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.
View our new Agriculture sector plan designed to drive down the numbers of people being killed and injured on farms. death and injury.
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.
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.
Reducing exposure to diesel/petrol exhaust emissions in the agriculture industry fact sheet
Keywords: exposure, diesel, exhaust, fumes, sulphur
This guide gives an overview of who is at risk of exposure to diesel exhaust emissions, how it can affect their health and how to eliminate or reduce exposure.Standard Page, 04/03/15
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.
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.
Health concerns around organophospahte pesticides fact sheet
Keywords: organophosphate, chemicals, pesticides. OP, agriculture
Exposure to organophosphate (OP) pesticides has been identified as a potential health risk. Various sectors of the agricultural industry use OP pesticides. Exposure to OP pesticides may result in short term and long term health issues if not used safely.Standard Page, 04/03/15
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.
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 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.
There are many potential work spaces that could represent a confined space on a farm or within another agriculture-based organisation such as:
- grain and feed bins
- auger and conveyor tunnels
- additive tanks
- fuel fertiliser tanks
- water storage tanks
- well pits
- scale pits
- milk, cheese, grape or wine vats
- sanitary collection systems
- crawl spaces and cellar
While these spaces are not designed for people to work in regularly, occasional entry may be required for inspection, cleaning, maintenance or repairs.
There are things you must do, by law, when working in a confined space. These laws are summarised on the confined spaces page.
There is also a code of practice on how to manage the risks associated with confined spaces in workplaces.
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.
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.
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.
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.
These safety induction checklists are aimed at pick and pack horticulture workers and have been developed with Farmsafe NSW and NSW Farmers.
Safety induction (English)
Keywords: pick, pack, workers, farms, agriculture, farming, English, induction, checklistPDF File, 408.8 KB, 26/02/18
Safety induction (Traditional Chinese)
Keywords: pick, pack, workers, farms, agriculture, farming, Traditional Chinese, induction, checklistPDF File, 3.0 MB, 09/03/17
Safety induction (French)
Keywords: pick, pack, workers, farms, agriculture, farming, French, induction, checklistPDF File, 2.9 MB, 09/03/17
Safety induction (German)
Keywords: pick, pack, workers, farms, agriculture, farming, German, induction, checklistPDF File, 2.8 MB, 09/03/17
Safety induction (Italian)
Keywords: pick, pack, workers, farms, agriculture, farming, Italian, induction, checklistPDF File, 2.9 MB, 09/03/17
Safety induction (Korean)
Keywords: pick, pack, workers, farms, agriculture, farming, Korean, induction, checklistPDF File, 2.9 MB, 09/03/17
Safety induction (Thai)
Keywords: pick, pack, workers, farms, agriculture, farming, Thai, induction, checklistPDF File, 2.9 MB, 09/03/17