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Health and safety tips for the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry

The following health and safety tips provide general information on ways to manage the most common hazards and risks in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry and will help to effectively manage health and safety in your workplace.

However, every workplace is different so you must not take this information as being all that you need to do.

General health and safety

Remember, everyone is responsible for workplace health and safety.

  • Identify what is unsafe or unhealthy in the workplace.
  • Decide what is highest risk and needs to be fixed first, and how to go about fixing it.
  • Take action to fix the unsafe or unhealthy workplace problems.
  • Check the problems are fixed and won't happen again.
  • Train workers on how to do the work safely.
  • Purchase equipment to suit all staff considering the physical characteristics of the people and the work being done.
  • Design and supervise safe work procedures.
  • Provide a first aid kit and have trained first aid officers available.
  • Provide appropriate safety gear, such as hats, gloves and reflective vests.

Health and safety awareness in the workplace

  • Encourage other employees to support young workers by keeping an eye out for them.
  • Make yourself available during young worker orientation or induction sessions.
  • Demonstrate your commitment to health and safety with your own consistent, safe work practices, and emphasise that unsafe work practices are unacceptable.
  • Make health and safety a part of all workplace communications.
  • Personally encourage young workers to report health and safety issues that they may encounter, and to share ideas and suggestions.
  • Respond to all health and safety concerns and act promptly.
  • Promote and attend safety training sessions, and participate in any emergency response training.
  • Use and wear protective equipment and safety gear as required and ensure adequate maintenance.
  • Ensure children are supervised at all times and kept away from high risk plant and areas such as tractors, quad bikes, plunge dips, machinery access roads, dams and channels and feed mills.

Induction and training

  • Have all workers undergo induction at the beginning of employment.
  • Ensure experienced workers are involved in any training.
  • Assess competence of workers.
  • Use only procedures accepted by industry.
  • Regularly review training needs.
  • Keep records of training and inductions completed.
  • Ensure all workers are aware of the accepted safe work procedure for your business.
  • Plan the approach before starting the activities and document safe work procedures.
  • Ensure first-aid and emergency procedures are in place.

Amenities and environment

  • Provide accessible first aid equipment and train workers in its use.
  • Ensure workers have access to toilets.
  • Provide hand and face washing facilities.
  • Provide access to potable, clean and cool drinking water.
  • Maintain grounds around buildings to minimise presence of potentially dangerous creatures (e.g. snakes/spiders) and to reduce fire fuel loads.

Emergency response

  • Develop emergency response procedures for the workplace (e.g. fire, confined space entry, snakebite, working in remote locations, heat stress or chemical spill).
  • Ensure workers are aware of emergency response procedures.
  • Train workers in administering first aid.
  • Maintain emergency response equipment.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • Select appropriate PPE for the work to be performed (e.g. gloves, aprons, protective footwear, hearing protection, respirators, masks, safety or sunglasses, hats and helmets).
  • Ensure all workers wear PPE if supplied and they are instructed in the proper use.

Manual tasks

  • Use appropriate restraint systems where required.
  • Avoid crush injuries to hands.
  • Use aids to lift or move down/injured animals where possible.
  • Minimise the risk of slips trips and falls in yards.
  • Have free swinging gates in yards to avoid lifting.

Read more about manual tasks.

Chemicals/hazardous substances

  • Make sure safety data sheets (SDS) are available for all hazardous substances.
  • Read the label and SDS and follow instructions.
  • Store chemicals safely and securely when not in use and store flammable and combustible liquids away from ignition sources.
  • Minimise exposure to workers by adopting preventative actions and training workers in safe handling techniques.
  • Never store chemicals in food and/or drink containers.
  • Make sure chemicals are correctly labelled (includes safety and risk phrases).

Read more about chemicals/hazardous substances.

Animal handling

  • Ensure animal handling facilities are adequate and maintained in a good condition.
  • Ensure all latches at high pressure points (e.g. gates in yards, and crushes) are functional and secure.
  • Supply animal handling aids where possible.
  • Vaccinate self and workers where recommended (e.g. QFever).
  • Promote good personal hygiene practices.
  • Design yards with safety in mind.

Read more about animal handling.

Plant and machinery

  • Supply correct plant and equipment for the task and for their intended purpose.
  • Ensure guards are installed on fixed/mobile plant and in safe working condition.
  • Keep vehicles and plant in good working order.
  • Train/instruct workers about the use and maintenance of equipment.
  • Train workers about falls from heights on fixed plant (e.g. silos and windmills).


  • Keep electrical equipment away from water.
  • Protect all electrical equipment with a residual current device (safety switch).
  • Secure and protect extension leads from damage and ensure they are uncoiled when in use.
  • Ensure all equipment is maintained in good working order and all specified electrical equipment tested and tagged where required.
  • Identify the location of overhead powerlines with ground markers.
  • Apply appropriate exclusion zones when working near powerlines.
  • Look out for overhead powerlines to make sure equipment will not make contact with live wires.

Read more about electricity.