Because of the nature of farming, staff are often involved in chemical usage, whether for animals or crops. This means that they are constantly around products such as pesticides and herbicides, which can cause poisoning or respiratory illnesses if handled incorrectly. Unfortunately, farmers’ nervous systems are often the most impacted by chemical exposure, particularly widely used pesticides.
Machinery is one of the most overlooked hazards simply because of daily use, normalising operations. Large-scale machinery with unguarded moving parts invite incidents to happen (more often than not, occurring from farm visitors, or from items getting trapped in moving parts). Other machinery, such as tractors or quad bikes, can easily roll over if not handled correctly. Safe Work Australia points out that 66% of workers’ fatalities are a result of involvement in a single vehicle incident, with 36% from driving a tractor, 16% driving a quad bike, 7% from driving a truck and 7% of deaths as a result of being killed by a vehicle they weren’t driving.
Although domesticated, livestock can still cause serious injuries to staff through bites and kicks, including ramming. Staff need to be aware of the possibility of transmission of infectious diseases. These including ring worm and leptospirosis, to name a few, which can easily spread through contact with infected livestock. Livestock activities, particularly handing and transport, cause an estimated 12% to 14% of serious injuries on the farm.