SafeWork NSW inspectors are visiting oyster farms in coastal area of NSW to ensure farmers are meeting their work healthy and safety obligations as they enter a busy time of the year.
In 2023, SafeWork has increased work health and safety compliance to support itinerant workers, particularly in the agricultural, forestry and fishing sectors to ensure they are operating in safe working environments.
Workers involved in the aquaculture industry are faced with a unique set of circumstances in their day-to-day activities, resulting in a broad range of hazards coming to the forefront including electrocution, crush related injuries, chemical exposure, lacerations, drowning and skin cancer.
Machinery and plant involved in oyster farming is susceptible to serious wear and tear due to the harsh UV conditions and saltwater these machines are exposed to. Inspectors will be ensuring machinery and equipment are in good working order, have attachments fitted correctly and have a seat belt to protect operators.
Director of Regional Operations for SafeWork NSW, Tony Williams says the Inspections aim to ensure farmers are meeting their work healthy and safety obligations as they enter a busy time of the year.
“Farmers continue to be overly represented in serious workplace injuries and fatalities and SafeWork will always be committed to ensuring we do all we can to see these numbers fall,” Mr Williams said.
“When we think of farming, we often only mention land-based farming such as livestock or grain, however those involved in the aquaculture industry continue to be faced with unique challenges every day and must not be forgotten,” he continued.
“Oyster farms employ a large number of itinerant workers and SafeWork inspectors will be ensuring these workers are properly trained, supervised and are operating in a safe environment.
“They also have a fair bit of machinery for the grading and so forth of oysters and we want to make sure they’re appropriately guarded.
“Electrical safety is a big thing, being near water, we’re making sure that farmers are safe in this respect.
“Oyster Farmers also have forklifts, trucks and loading equipment, so we want to make sure that they’re in good condition and they’re safe to use and also that people are licenced to use them.”
Eligible farmers are encouraged to access the SafeWork small business rebate or request a free advisory visit or workshop for practical support to help with farm safety.
Further advice on staying safe in the aquacultural industry is available on the SafeWork website.