Improving safety in the sheep and beef cattle farming industry is one of WorkCover NSW’s top priorities for 2012.
The project is part of WorkCover NSW’s new flagship work health and safety program, 10/5/5, which works with the NSW community to improve safety in the State’s 10 highest risk industries.
The project will look at the causes for the high number of injuries and illnesses across the industry and industry sub-sectors – which is made up of more than 26,900 businesses - including beef cattle feedlots and grain growing, said John Watson, general manager of WorkCover NSW’s work health and safety division.
“In the next two months we will be visiting 50 farms across NSW to compare the risks that we have identified with what farmers and farm workers are experiencing, and discuss some of the barriers to improving safety,” he said.
“It will also investigate impact of occupational diseases on the farming community including mental health, noise and animal related diseases.”
The project seeks to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses and improve injury management following 1514 injuries in the three years to July 2010, at a cost of $41 million.
The most common injuries identified by WorkCover involved mobile plant and vehicles including tractors, quad bikes and machinery as well as sprains and strains while handling animals, and being hit by, and falling from, animals.
“We will work closely with the farming fraternity to develop sustainable improvements to safety, injury management, return to work and workers compensation so that rural workplaces are much safer and more productive,” he said.