Minimising risks

Minimising risks

Control the hazard

Once the hazard has been identified and the risk assessed, control measures should be used to reduce the risks of an accident.These include:

  • Eliminating the hazard at source
  • Reducing the hazard at source
  • Reducing the employee’s exposure to the hazard
  • Removing the employee from the hazard
  • Containing the hazard by enclosure or isolation
  • Supplying and using personal protective equipment
  • Training workers about safe work practices

These topics are explained below.

Avoid hazards wherever possible
It’s always better, if possible, to avoid the hazard altogether through the design of equipment, substitution of hazardous substances, alternative systems of work and so on, rather than to rely on control measures such as use of personal protective equipment. Talk to other employers, employees, etc. This can help you identify and resolve problems before injuries occur.

Identify risks to farmworkers and visitors

Identify the hazards on farm for farmworkers and visitors. Noting hazards on a farm map and leaving the map in a prominent place e.g. in the farm office or the yards can assist with identification and draw attention to key areas to pay attention to for those that are not familiar with the property or are working on an unfamiliar part of the station.

Having signs on the property at entry points and especially at particularly hazardous areas reminds those entering the area that there are risks to consider whilst working on the farm.

Training reduces injury risks

Training for health and safety reduces the risks of injury. Employers are required to train or supervise their employees, and provide information and instruction for employees on how to work in a healthy and safe manner without exposure to hazards. Training in health and safety could include induction or ongoing training, or training about new systems of work. Information may be provided through the use of signs, information sheets or safety training manuals, or may be given verbally.

Maintain equipment

Is the equipment safe, and is it suitable for the job to be done? Many hazards can be engineered out of machinery and equipment, so check for this when buying or hiring new machinery or equipment.  Regular maintenance of equipment improves safety and efficiency. In particular,safety devices and guards must operate correctly.  A system should be in place which ensures maintenance conditions are complied with.
Loose clothing should not be worn when working near machinery and equipment where it can get caught in moving parts.

Creating a safe and healthy work environment
Making sure work areas are clean and tidy helps to prevent accidents.  Proper storage of dangerous goods on the farm is essential and will also ensure that children are not exposed to hazards.
Outdoor work in New Zealand poses the risk of sunburn, skin cancer and heat stress. These risks can be reduced by covering up with suitable light clothing (some clothing will let harmful sun rays through), wearing a hat and sunscreen, drinking plenty of cool fluids and eating regularly. Tractors with a canopy or cab also provide some protection.

Get information about the chemicals you use
It’s important that any hazardous or dangerous substances are identified, particularly where large volumes are used or stored. Don’t decant substances into bottles or beverage containers and do ensure that all substances are properly labelled.
Read the health and safety information on the labels of pesticides. The label will provide information on storage, use, dealing with spillages and disposal. Comparing the information on labels will help you to choose the least harmful product.

In the case of pasture protection products, be aware that several products currently available are being withdrawn, whereas new controls for those that remain will commence on 1 July 2015.  See here for more information.

Provide and use personal protective equipment
The use of personal protective equipment is the least-preferred option. Where no other control methods are available, protective clothing and equipment can provide personal protection. This might include goggles, respirators, hearing protection, gloves, boots, etc.
The equipment must be suitable for the hazard concerned. You should have a system in place to ensure that personal protective equipment is worn, maintained and replaced if damaged.

Have emergency procedures in place
Everyone who works on the farm should be aware of the emergency procedures for special hazards, such as chemical spills, fire, etc. These procedures should be reviewed on a regular basis.


Information sourced from OSH.