The following description was taken from the Agriculture Strategy 2020-23 by WorkSafe Victoria
Farms are among the most dangerous workplaces in Victoria. The agriculture industry employs about 2% of the Victorian workforce whilst accounting for approximately 30% of workplace deaths across the state. The industry also records a significant number of serious injuries. This, together with the considerable risks that farmers and agricultural workers are exposed to, is why agriculture continues to be a high priority industry for WorkSafe.
We are taking a strategic approach to prevention across a number of key hazards and industries. This Agriculture Strategy 2020-23 (strategy) demonstrates and highlights our commitment to continue playing a leading role in preventing fatalities and reducing the incidence and severity of injury and illness, as well as promoting healthy and safe working environments for people working in the agriculture industry. This strategy supports our WorkSafe Corporate Plan to be a prevention-led and client-centric organisation with a focus on three key pillars of health and safety, recovery and value.
In recent years, we have collaborated with industry to improve health and safety across the sector through programmes, initiatives and regulation. Despite these efforts there were five fatalities and almost 600 claims during the 2018-19 financial year. We believe that by working together with industry, health and safety representatives (HSRs), workers and their representative groups, and government agencies, improvements in health and safety outcomes that have a real impact, are achievable.
We will achieve improvements by implementing interventions aimed at reducing risks to health and safety and improving return to work outcomes:
• positively influence the agricultural sector to adopt mindsets, behaviours and practices that align with the belief that deaths and injuries are preventable
• influence and partner with relevant parties to align priorities, implement initiatives and promote healthy and safe practices in the industry
• co-design programs with stakeholders that improve state of knowledge in the industry and drive cultural change, ultimately reducing fatalities and injuries
• target compliance and enforcement activities to high risk areas and share learnings and consequences to achieve broader industry awareness and improvement in health and safety and return to work outcomes.
This strategy intends to drive improvement where it is needed most by focusing on the key issues contributing to fatalities and injuries. We look forward to partnering with our stakeholders and the community to co-design and implement initiatives to achieve the desired outcomes.