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Work Injury Poses Many Costs for Dairy Farms

01 June 2012

AUSTRALIA - Any injury on a farm comes at a direct cost to the person involved and the business and the fines are additional costs.

Dairy Australia’s Dr Pauline Brightling who manages The People in Dairy program said workplace fatalities and serious injuries associated with machinery use received a lot of media coverage, but manual handling injury was the biggest source of claims associated with farm workplace health and safety.

Manual handling claims tend to be associated with repetitive work resulting in muscle or back injury.

“These injuries often involve extended time off work. In addition to the personal injury, it is inconvenient and costly to the employer. Prevention is a far better approach,” Dr Brightling said.

“There is an emerging trend towards increases in manual handling injuries on dairy farms, particularly at large operations where workers may spend longer periods on repetitive tasks in the milking shed; for example cup attachment.”

Under new, nationally uniform legislation being introduced from this year, workers and others at the workplace have a duty to take care of their own safety and to ensure their activities do not affect the health and safety of others. The duty of care also applies to contractors and volunteers such as Land Care groups working on the farm.

Dr Brightling said the duty of care involved providing and maintaining a safe work environment, safe systems of work, safe plant and structures and the provision of health and safety information and instruction.

In practice this means duty holders must identify potential hazards at the workplace and take positive steps to eliminate them or, if this is not possible, to minimise risk.

Dairy farmers need not feel daunted by their work health and safety obligations, Dr Brightling said.

“Most dairy farmers want to provide a safe workplace,” she said.

“Sometimes the challenge can be working out where to start. It’s actually easier for dairy farmers than many other workplaces because there are a range of checklists and tools available on the web that have been custom-developed for dairy farms.”

Checklists, tools and more information are available from www.thepeopleindairy.com.au - click on live library; farm policies & systems; health and safety risk. Or for good resources on preventing injuries in the dairy visit www.cowtimecom.au - click on shed shake-ups; then click on Pits n People.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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