Welcome to the February 2022 edition of “Take A Second” where we discuss:
The Farm Safety Advisors are available to discuss issues raised in this Newsletter and other WHS issues farmers may have. We are contactable at [email protected] or on 1300 794 000 (Advisor call back service).
Whenever you hire new workers, it's important that you incorporate safety into their induction to the worksite – before they start their job. Not only will this help them understand how to do their work safely, it will let them know that you take safety seriously.
Use a checklist to make the induction easier and more thorough. Keep the checklist on file as a record of employee training. Induction topics need to include:
Remember to get your workers to sign the induction and include the date.
- rights and responsibilities
- workplace hazards
- safe work procedures.
Rights and responsibilities
Everyone has a right to a safe workplace — and everyone has a role to play in keeping it safe. It's important that new workers understand what their rights and responsibilities are, as well as the rights and responsibilities of supervisors and employers.
Workers need to be aware of hazards so they can let you (or their supervisor) know if there are unsafe conditions that need to be fixed. It's important that you identify all hazards to workers — even if they seem obvious. Also, explain what systems or measures you've put in place to minimise the hazard.
Safe work procedures
There are probably tasks in your workplace that require specific safe work procedures — for example, locking machinery or picking up discarded needles. Workers must be trained in step-by-step safe work procedures. Don't just tell them the steps or have them read the instructions, make sure they understand how to do the task safely.
Source: SafeWork NSW
How Can We Help?
The NSW Farm Safety Advisory Program has been created to assist businesses develop and implement their WHS frameworks. Inductions are a key part of this framework and our advisors can walk you through the process of developing an induction procedure that is effective for your business.
Click here to contact a Farm Safety Advisor.
Workplace Training and Assessment
When do people need health and safety training?
The need for health and safety training at work is continuous. As circumstances at work change, there will always be the need to ask the questions:
Typical times when you need to ask these questions are:
- How does this change affect health and safety?
- What health and safety instruction and training do I need to provide now?
- whenever you take on someone new at work - health and safety is an important part of induction training
- whenever you buy new machinery or equipment or new substances such as cleaning materials, chemicals, paints and so on
- whenever people's jobs change
- whenever you change the layout of your work environment
- whenever there are new health and safety regulations, standards or laws that affect your industry
- if there has been an accident, injury or health and safety incident at work
There are four types of health and safety training courses available:
Who can provide formal training?
- licence or certificate courses
- accredited and approved courses
- short courses
- vocational and professional courses
Most health and safety training is provided by organisations that are accredited as a registered training organisation (RTO) :
Many employers send their supervisors to these organisations for training. Training can also be provided in-house by these organisations.
- employer organisations
- the health and safety organisation in your State or Territory
- TAFE colleges and universities
- private occupational health and safety consultants/trainers
Another important provider of training may be a supervisor or experienced worker who has skills and knowledge in health and safety. Such a person can provide information and training to others at work.
For this informal training to be effective, the supervisor or experienced worker needs to undertake training to develop the skills to train others in the workplace. Supervisors and experienced workers should also lead good safety practice by example.
Source: SafeWork NSW
What Does This Mean On Farm?
While there are many avenues to formally undertake training, many involve travel away from your property. Formal training may be necessary, such as licences for high risk work. Look for flexible training options such as online course delivery and keep an eye out for local farm safety weeks in your area.
Most farming businesses incorporate WHS training as part of their induction process, with senior staff or owners providing training. Whether it be for a new worker, new task or new machine, it is important that a record be kept of the training completed, including who was there, what was discussed, who provided the training and the date.
Our Advisors can assist you in setting up this process.
Click here to contact a Farm Safety Advisor.
Tocal Agricultural College run Farm Safety Weeks - a week of accredited training focused on farm safety in regional areas. Register your interest here:
COVID-19 – Rapid Antigen Testing
Rapid Antigen Tests are a quick way for businesses to detect COVID-19 and protect their workers and customers.
Where can I find them?
Unfortunately, Rapid Antigen Tests are continuing to be in short supply across NSW. There have been tools created to try and make the search easier such as Find A Rat . These rely on consumers and stockists to report on availability at a location and may not reflect the actual amount available in regional areas.
For businesses, we suggest trying to contact stockists in your local area to hold onto your required units until you are able to take delivery, or working with other businesses to secure a supply from distributers.
How the test works
Rapid Antigen Tests can pick up the COVID-19 virus very early in the infection, sometimes before symptoms appear.
Individuals can show no symptoms but still carry the virus and may transmit it to others.
Rapid Antigen Tests provide results quickly and help reduce the spread of the virus and prevent outbreaks.
Rapid antigen testing involves taking either a saliva sample or nasal swab that is placed into a chemical solution to give a result in 10 to 20 minutes. Instructions need to be followed carefully.
Testing at workplaces
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved two different types of rapid antigen testing for workplaces:
- Point-of-care testing: which is implemented on-site and requires medical supervision.
- Rapid antigen self-testing kits: which can be done at home and do not require medical supervision.
Guidance for businesses and employers (current 18 February 2022)
Who should do a Rapid Antigen Test?
Some businesses may choose to implement workplace screening using Rapid Antigen Tests based on an individual risk assessment.
- People with symptoms
- Household, social, workplace or education contact of a positive case
- Anyone before going to an event with lots of others, or before visiting vulnerable family members
- Anyone arriving from overseas (passengers and flight crew)
- Anyone asked by a school or child care centre to test.
The risk assessment should include factors such as the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community, whether staff work with people who are at high risk of developing severe COVID-19, if staff have a role that is critical to business continuity, and whether other mitigating measures can be put in place.
Business should develop COVID-19 safety plans that, at a minimum, ensure all staff:
Rapid Antigen Tests are not a substitute for COVID-19 safety plans. If a person with symptoms has a negative Rapid Antigen Test, they should continue to self-isolate and repeat the test 24hrs later. If the repeat test is negative, they can return to work when symptoms resolve. If the test is positive, they should follow the NSW Health guidance for people who test positive for COVID-19.
- Are aware not to attend work and to get tested if they have symptoms
- Physically distance at least 1.5 m as much are possible
- Wear masks indoors in accordance with public health orders
- Wear masks outdoors when they cannot physically distance from others
- Practice regular hand hygiene
- Have received a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine when eligible.
For more information on Rapid Antigen tests, click here
Keep an eye out for further changes to COVID-19 rules here
Mental Health On Farms
Living off the land is very rewarding for many Australian men and women. However, farming can also have a negative impact on mental health, especially when unexpected events such as this years extended harvest occur. Unfortunately, suicide rates are higher than the general population and non-farming rural males. Farming has a unique set of pressures, with farmers being more likely to suffer from depression caused by financial pressures and isolation.
With early detection you can recover so it’s important to remain connected and look after your mates.
Identifying the signs can be hard and you need to know what to look out for; and what to do if someone you know is depressed or suicidal.
Signs of depression include:
Depression may seem scary but there are some things you can do if you suspect that you may be depressed:
- low self esteem
- low motivation or energy
- insomnia - difficulty sleeping and feeling tired
- difficulty concentrating or keeping focus
- inability to control your emotions - such as sadness or anger
- loss of enjoyment in socialising and doing things that previously made you happy
- changes in appetite and weight or decreased libido.
If you feel suicidal, seek help immediately.
- talk to your family or friends and tell them how you fee
- speak to your doctor or a trusted medical professional
- seek information and support online
- complete Beyond Blue's depression checklist.
Speak to your doctor, friends or family, or call one of the 24 hour helplines listed below:
Source: SafeWork NSW
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