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risk management in rural industry v2
30.04.17    |  

Risk Management in Rural Industry

One year into the new Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA), companies and individuals are still being educated on what the legislation changes mean specifically for them and their industry.

For Rural Industry, some changes made to the management of workplace risk can be broken down into the following three steps.

1.        Identify the Risk of Harm or Illness

What can hurt the people on your farm?

Risk assessment begins with identifying potential sources of harm or illness which are hazards. 

Analysis, Assessment and Evaluation
Risk Analysis involves developing understanding of the risks through a consideration of cause and effect. Risk analysis must consider:

  • the likelihood of the hazard or the risk concerned occurring; and
  • the degree of harm that might result from the hazard or risk; and
  • what the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know the hazard or risk.

2.        Risk Treatment

How will you protect the people on your farm?

The PCBU must: 
(a) eliminate risks to health and safety, so far as is reasonably practicable; and
(b) if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate risks to health and safety, to minimise those risks so far as is reasonably practicable.

3.        Communicate and Monitor the Risk

How will the people on your farm know about potential risks?

Communication and consultation informs of every stage of the risk management process and should involve both internal and external stakeholders.

Risk Management must be regularly monitored and reviewed to ensure that the risk monitoring and assessment are up to date and risk controls are effective and being implemented as agreed.

How does this work in a real life rural setting?

Consider Hazardous Substances on the Farm:

1. Identify the Risk:
Farms host numerous hazardous substances that if handled, used or stored incorrectly could potentially harm a worker.
Hazard: Chemicals stored in unmarked containers
Risk: It is likely persons could use or be exposed to a chemical they are not qualified to handle. This could result in burns, explosion, and/or poisoning.

2. Risk Treatment: 
Ensure all chemicals are handled according to the hazardous substance's Safety Data Sheet (SDS). Best practice is that a SDS has been issued within the last 5 years and that every chemical has a SDS. A good SDS identifies the adverse effects, risks and will tell you the correct PPE to wear, incompatible substances, storage and appropriate disposal.

3. Communicate and Monitor Risk:
Communicating the hazardous substances risks to the wider farm, workers, contractors through mandatory signage (as identified in the control regulations), updates as part of tool box meetings and inductions and training in the handling of hazardous substances.

Risk Management in the rural setting is an ongoing procedure but once the process of 1. Identifying Risks,  2. Risk Treatment and,  3. Communication and Monitoring Risks, is understood and being practiced by all involved, the procedure becomes second nature and farms will, in turn, become safer.

Vertical Horizonz specialise in the delivery of practical, workplace safety training. In the rural sector this training includes:  Hazardous Substances Approved Handlers, Rural Health and Safety, First Aid, 4WD, Forklift, Chainsaw, OSH, Tractor Operations and Quad bike.

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