Forty-three per cent of Queensland dairies have no written WHS policy in place and fifteen per cent have only a verbal policy, audits by WorkCover have found.
The audits were carried out last year under a new work safety program for the state’s dairy industry. The program aims to improve the capacity of business owners and managers to manage safety.
The audits also found nearly 38 per cent of workers never or rarely wear a helmet when riding a quad bike.
Most businesses believed they didn’t require a traffic management plan, while others reckoned they should have a plan, but hadn’t actually addressed the issue.
WorkCover Queensland launched the program after injury statistics revealed 117 claims for serious injuries over the last five years and one fatality, with 21 per cent of claims caused by livestock and 10 per cent involving vehicles.
The audits revealed that majority of injuries were related to joints/ligaments/muscles, fractures and lacerations, with almost half of the injuries involving upper limbs, a quarter lower limbs and 14 per cent to the body/trunk.
Anecdotal evidence indicated the industry’s high-risk issues included livestock handling; electrical safety; quad bikes; chemicals; and machinery.
Manual handling risks, zoonotic diseases, and mental health were also prevalent.
WorkCover Queensland audited 47 dairies in the Scenic Rim, Darling Downs, Sunshine Coast, and South Burnett regions.
Nearly two-thirds of businesses indicated they would be interested in attending a face-to-face workshop on work health and safety.
The audits also revealed:
- 38% of businesses rarely or never completed risk assessments
- safety induction training was completed often by 38% of businesses and sometimes by 32%, but over a quarter of the businesses rarely or never provided training and induction
- only 38% of businesses reported having control measures in place for working at heights but more work is needed to boost safety, particularly for climbing silos
- fewer than a quarter (23%) of the businesses had measures in place to manage the health and safety of visitors
- for diseases management, a quarter of the group had no measures in place to manage the risk of zoonotic diseases for QFever vaccinations and the same amount said no-one had been vaccinated, while 13% had only some people vaccinated.
WorkCover said the next phase of the program will start in March. WorkCover representatives will be looking at the overall WHS compliance of the businesses, including machinery and guarding, electrical, chemicals, quad bikes, zoonoses, working at heights and safety management systems.