WorkCover NSW is urging grain farmers and farm workers to think about their safety during the harvest season, especially the risks associated with storing grain on properties.
With the harvest season well underway and grain prices currently low, many farmers are opting to store grain on their properties in order to secure better returns in the future.
This can introduce new risks to farmers and farm workers, according to John Watson, general manager of WorkCover’s work health and safety division.
“Many farmers have turned to flat bed storage and bunkers with tarps to store excess grains from this, and last, harvest while they wait for prices to increase,” he said.
“This storage method comes with inherent safety risks that farmers should be aware of.
“When tarping grain in a bunker and climbing on top of the pile, take caution to avoid becoming engulfed in the grain as this can lead to suffocation.”
Watson also advised farmers to be conscious of weather conditions, as gusts of wind could catch tarps and throw farmers into the air. “This occurred just last year in Victoria with fatal consequences,” he said.
Watson said falls from heights, grain augers and working with chemicals were some of the other major risks farmers needed to consider.
“Eliminating or reducing the need for access to heights and ladders when working with silos is strongly recommended,” he said.
“We strongly encourage farmers to retrofit existing silos with ground level working devices that can almost eliminate the need to climb silos.