13th November 2013 WA Work Safe has issued a reminder to the agriculture sector to work safely during harvesting operations. WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said today the agriculture sector did not have a good record when it came to workplace safety.

“Western Australia’s agriculture, fishing and forestry sector has one of the State’s highest rates of work-related injuries,” Mr McCulloch said. ”The sector actually tops the statistics in work-related deaths, with 34 Western Australians losing their lives over the past seven years.

“Harvesting time brings with it some specific issues that need to be addressed in order to keep our agricultural workers safe and healthy. “Hazards and risks are particularly high, especially when farmers are facing great pressure to get the harvest done quickly.  In these circumstances, it is especially important they pay attention to safety. “Ensuring that equipment is well maintained, properly guarded and serviced regularly is crucial, as is ensuring that all workers are adequately trained in the use of equipment. “Also extremely important is making sure that machinery operators have adequate rest breaks to reduce the risk of fatigue.  Long working hours and the associated fatigue are significant safety and health issues that need particular attention during harvest time.

“A Code of Practice on Working Hours has existed for more than seven years, and I urge employers and self-employed people in the agriculture sector to obtain a copy of the code and stick to it, particularly during this busy time of year.”

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