Agriculture is among Australia’s most dangerous industries, with total and permanent disability (TPD) just one of the potential career-ending hazards farm workers face on the job.
This is why WorkCover sent inspectors to last weekend’s (November 1 and 2) Farming Small Areas and Lifestyle Expo in Clarendon, in an effort to raise awareness of the sector’s safety issues.
The organisation’s staff provided guidance on a range of topics, concentrating specifically on workers’ compensation, returning to work after an injury and the dangers of agricultural machinery.
Peter Dunphy, acting general manager of WorkCover NSW’s Work Health and Safety Division, said inspectors can help across a wide spectrum of farming subjects. They are also available for on-site calls.
“During a visit an inspector will be able to suggest potential safety solutions or improvements, which may be eligible for a $500 rebate,” he explained.
“By addressing a potential safety problem, you not only target hazards and reduce the chances of incidents and illness but also minimise your business’s exposure to associated costs; lost time, replacement worker hire and training or paying overtime.”
Dangers of farm work
According to Mr Dunphy, WorkCover is keen to encourage collaboration and boost health and safety measures across the agriculture industry. The organisation’s attendance at the exhibition is just part of a wider scheme to achieve these aims.
“In the three years to July 2012, there were 5,465 injuries and illnesses in the industry, including seven farmers or farm workers who sadly did not make [it] home to their families at the end of the working day,” he explained.
The agriculture industry adds $11.7 billion to the NSW economy, making it one of the biggest-contributing sectors. However, Mr Dunphy noted that it is also one of the most dangerous.
Figures from Safe Work Australia revealed that 12 per cent of agricultural injuries are from musculoskeletal disorders while handling objects, 11 per cent occur due to falling from heights and 7 per cent are vehicle related.
Making a claim in NSW
Agriculture workers who suffer a disability as a result of their job could be entitled to receive compensation, provided they make a TPD claim.
If this is the case, contacting seasoned compensation lawyers with expert experience in this area is a must to ensure the best chance of success.
Get in touch with Gerard Malouf & Partners today to see whether you could be in line for compensation.