Farming environment: Fact sheet

Issue

The Australian farm can be a harsh environment. Farmers need to be aware of the risks involved with working in hot and noisy environments. They should also be aware of the hazards involved with working with animals.

Recommendations

Sun protection

  • Schedule outdoor work for early morning or late afternoon outside peak UV times.
  • Ensure workers are provided with adequate fresh water and regular rest breaks.
  • Encourage all workers to wear long sleeves and pants, sunscreen, appropriate hats and sunglasses.
  • Provide shade for outdoor intensive-work areas where possible.

For more information about sun protection, visit the Cancer Council.

Noise protection

  • When purchasing farm equipment, consider noise reduction qualities.
  • Rearrange workshop layout to minimise noise.
  • Install noise barriers or insulated walls.
  • Install mufflers on motorised equipment.
  • Install safety signs in noisy areas.
  • Maintain equipment – engines, seals, brackets.
  • Monitor noise levels and organise hearing tests for your workers if appropriate.
  • Consider rotating tasks so that workers are not exposed to high levels of noise for a prolonged period of time.
  • Provide hearing protection.
  • Provide guidance material about noise to your workers.

For more information about noise protection, listen to the webinar on Managing noise in the workplace.

Zoonotic diseases

Zoonotic diseases are passed from animals to humans, and include brucellosis and Q fever.

Consider these prevention measures:

  • Vaccinate workers and animals against transmissible diseases.
  • Worm working dogs and household pets.
  • Avoid direct contact with animal body fluids.
  • Use machinery to clear manure and other waste products.
  • Use crushes and other safety devices to limit physical contact with animals.
  • Use appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves, masks, waterproof boots, overalls and glasses.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after handling animals and before eating.

For more information on zoonotic diseases, see Zoonoses – animal diseases transmissible to humans.

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