Chance for farmers to brush up on safety this harvest season

22 October 2021

Horticulture businesses in the Koo Wee Rup, Lang Lang and Cardinia regions are being urged to ensure they put health and safety first as harvest season moves into full swing.

WorkSafe, the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions and the Labour Hire Authority hosted an online information session in October to provide businesses with advice, including how to meet occupational health and safety obligations.

The session included information on how to stay COVID-safe, support workers and ensure labour hire workers are provided through a licensed labour hire provider.

Agriculture Victoria, Australian Asparagus Council, Victorian Farmers Federation and AUSVEG VIC will also participate in the informal webinar to offer support and answer any questions growers may have.

Subject to COVID-19 restrictions, WorkSafe, Labour Hire Authority and Department of Justice and Community Safety inspectors and authorised officers will conduct compliance checks on farms in the Koo Wee Rup, Lang Lang and Cardinia regions in November to check businesses are operating safely.

Labour Hire Licensing Commissioner Steve Dargavel said the pandemic has changed the way farms operate and the webinar will help ensure that labour hire hosts and providers have current COVID-safe plans to protect their workers, businesses and local communities.

"Farms and providers have a duty to protect their labour hire workers and treat them fairly by complying with workplace laws. This webinar gives providers and hosts another way to raise any questions or concerns with the Labour Hire Authority," Mr Dargavel said.

"Through the information session and inspections our aim is to prevent the exploitation of labour hire workers which will improve the reputation of horticulture and regional communities as safe and fair places to work."

WorkSafe Regional Operations Director Eastern Region, Kevin Hayes is encouraging all farmers to participate in the webinar to make this harvest a safe one.

"The information session gives growers the chance to understand their health and safety duties in a relaxed environment with plenty of support," Mr Hayes said.

"We know taking simple measures can make a huge difference when it comes to workplace safety and I would encourage farmers to take the time to review their business and see where they can make improvements."