Farm safety during sowing
Story Added : 28th March 2011
Grain growers continue to be most at risk of serious injury or death as a result of farm vehicles, plant and machinery.
Grain production enterprises top all other agricultural sectors, with incidents resulting from tractors, quad bikes, utes and two-wheel motorbikes, an ongoing problem according to research conducted by the Australian Centre for Health and Safety at the University of Sydney, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) and the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC).
Kondinin Group researcher Toni Nugent says operator fatigue resulting from long work hours is a major contributor to injury and death during sowing.
“Research shows the risk of work related injury and illness increases in people working more than 60 hours per week or 12 or more hours in one day,” she said.
“When compared to an eight hour shift, accidents are doubled after 12 hours of work.
“As sleep loss increases and work time periods increase, performance levels decline.”
Maintaining plant and machinery while fatigued can easily lead to hand injuries, particularly with hydraulic hoses. Climbing silo’s to check levels of grain can also prove dangerous, with farmers prone to falling and related injuries.
Death and injury from tractor accidents has been increasing, with older farmers identified as the greatest at risk.
“Driving on narrow or raised roads or slopes increases the risk of the tractor rolling,” Ms Nugent said.
“Rollover protective structures (ROPS) should be fitted to all un-cabined tractors; the wheel width can also be widened to increase tractor stability.”
To avoid serious injury at sowing time Ms Nugent suggests careful planning and the implementation of communication systems and emergency procedures that are circulated to all people involved with sowing.
“Employees should be made aware of these plans during their induction and kept regularly updated throughout the year; people should also know the location of first aid kits on the property,” Ms Nugent said.
Farmers and farm workers should carry a two-way radio or mobile phone at all times, particularly when working alone or in remote areas.
For more information on playing it safe at sowing click here