26 September 2023

PS teamwork harvests safety on farms

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WorkSafe Victoria, Agriculture Victoria, the Labour Hire Authority and the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions have all teamed up to help farmers stay safe this harvest season.

Executive Director of Health and Safety at WorkSafe, Narelle Beer said the Organisations were hosting a series of webinars to assist growers in protecting themselves and their workers against occupational health and safety risks.

“Harvest is one of the busiest times for farmers and, with the challenges of a labour shortage, market fluctuations and COVID-19, it can be difficult to manage health and safety requirements,” Ms Beer said.

“The online sessions are a simple and interactive way to help farmers have safe and compliant harvests,” she said.

“We never want to see tragedies in the workplace and these webinars ensure farmers have access to all the up-to-date information they need to protect themselves and their workers before incidents occur, especially during peak harvest activities.”

Ms Beer said the webinars were an opportunity for horticulture producers around Victoria to learn more about keeping farms safe; seasonal workforce support; COVID-19 employer obligations; and the treatment of labour hire workers.

The Executive Director said the sessions were free and would give farmers the chance to ask questions in an informal and virtual environment.

She said the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) would also provide information on labour relations, worker availability and its safety services in the webinars.

Labour Hire Licensing Commissioner, Steve Dargavel stressed the value of the webinars amid harvest season.

“As labour intensive work ramps up for harvest, it’s more crucial than ever that farmers using labour hire workers only use licensed providers,” Commissioner Dargavel said.

“Farmers should also be aware of their legal responsibilities to their workers, including ensuring their safety and entitlements,” he said.

Commissioner Dargavel said the webinars would support farmers to understand their existing obligations and would help protect labour hire workers from exploitation.

Ms Beer said the first virtual session was held this week and two more were scheduled for 8 December and 19 January.

Further information on the webinars can be accessed at this PS News link.

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