Working in your environment
Farms are dangerous places. There are many hazards that can injure you, your family and your workers – from deafness caused by exposure to dangerous noise, diseases passed from animals to humans, exposure to chemicals and electrical safety.
Hearing loss from noisy machinery and firearms affects two thirds of the farming community. Losing your hearing is very isolating. It affects your ability to communicate with your family, friends and workers, and for some people it seriously affects their social lives. Tractors, workshop tools, firearms, heavy machinery can all contribute to hearing loss over time. For information on protecting your hearing while working on the farm, access the resources below.
- The Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety provides advice on protecting against noise on its noise injury prevention web page.
- SafeWork NSW’s information on Noise at Work and Managing noise and preventing hearing loss code of practice.
Zoonoses and biosecurity
Working with animals day to day presents a risk of being exposed to diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans, called zoonoses. They affect thousands of people across Australia each year.
- The NSW Department of Primary Industries offers tips on how to protect yourself and your workers from animal diseases on its animal biosecurity web page.
- The Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety provides advice on disease passed on by animals on its zoonoses web page.
- SafeWork NSW’s information on diseases.
Chemicals and pesticides
Chemicals and pesticides are a part of farm life, but if you don’t use them safety, or use chemicals that are deemed no longer safe, then you could be putting yourself at risk of short and long term health problems as a result.
Always read labels and safety data sheets before using pesticides, and follow the instructions and use appropriate personal protective equipment when handling chemicals. You can find out more below.
- See SafeWork NSW’s information on hazardous chemicals commonly found on farms.
- Find out about how the chemical classification and labelling system is changing and what you need to do before the 31 December 2016 deadline.
- For tips on how to use chemicals safely, watch SafeWork NSW’s video safety alert Pesticides in agriculture.
Powerlines can kill. If you have them on your property make sure you:
- mark them at ground level
- know the height of all your machinery and vehicles
- check paddocks before entering – lines can come down in high winds, and cable heights can change in hot or windy conditions.
Ausgrid provides an informative video outlining electrical safety measures for rural workers.
Cotton Australia has a 'Look up and live' fact sheet on working safety around electricity on cotton farms.
- The SafeWork NSW Managing the work environment and facilities: Code of practice provides guidance on how to work safely in your particular work environment.
- The SafeWork NSW Farming environment fact sheet provides advice on a number of hazards such as heat, noise and zoonoses.