Members who attended the Safe Ag Systems workshop at Loxton on Monday had a real shakeup! Caroline Graham disturbed the audience in the opening ten minutes with some anecdotes about farming accidents and some scary facts about the penalties that can apply if we neglect our work health and safety obligations. The penalties don’t just apply in situations where harm has been caused but also when safety inspectors have visited and found workplace situations that fail the compliance test around safety standards; and these are rugged.
For instance, the penalty for not having electrical cables tested and tagged can be up to $18,000! Failure to provide appropriate signage while working in confined spaces can also incur a charge of $18,000. Those breaches of safety standards are at the low end of the scale.
Farmers have a duty to provide information, training and instruction to all workers. Failure to do so can bring fines of up to $30,000. Likewise the failure to prepare, maintain and implement an emergency plan can also cost up to $30,000. The list of responsibilities and fines for failure to comply is long and complex but it is only one reason to take a minute to look at work health and safety practices and to review one’s own standards and compliance arrangements. Perhaps a more important consideration is that in the event of serious injury or even death, where failure to comply with these rugged and rigid safety standards can be established, the penalties don’t bear thinking about. They would send the great majority of Riverland wine growing businesses to the wall!
The good news is, that the Safe Ag Systems, devised by Caroline and her husband Mark, South Australian farmers, inform farmers about regulations, standards and compliance but moreover, these solutions are readily available to all farmers with internet access via the desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone. The systems were put in place after a serious safety shakeup on their own farm. They have been devised with farmers and horticulturists in mind. What’s more the system has a built-in task manager that streamlines activities around every day little jobs that we see from the tractor or the quad bike but often forget about by the time we get back to the shed.
The majority of those who attended are going to trial the system. Members are urged and encouraged to check out system and contact Kate by phone 8584 5816 or email if they are interested in more information or participating in another workshop.