Farmers need to manage health and safety in a way that is appropriate for the needs of themselves, their staff and visitors to the farm. This guide will take you through the key components of a safety management system.
The purpose of these guidelines is to help farmers establish and operate a safety management system for their farm.
Farmers need to manage health and safety in a way that is appropriate for the needs of themselves, their staff and visitors to the farm. This guide will take you through the key components of a safety management system.
On Monday 4th April 2016, the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) came into effect. HSWA repeals the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, with immediate effect. All references to the 1992 Act on this website and within our guidance will be progressively removed. The existing guidance sets out relevant information and practices that people can follow to help keep their farms healthy and safe.
The Guide to Developing Safety Management Systems was developed to help small operations to prepare a Safety Management System for their business.
A safety management system is an established set of processes to manage health and safety and maintain a high safety standard in the workplace. It is important to note that a safety management system is a system – a combination of processes – and this requires a different approach than you may be used to. A safety management system should include:
Each of these components is discussed in the Guide. This series of separate parts form a whole safety management system, just as your business consists of many separate processes and people.
This Guide has been developed to assist in developing a safety management system. Any industry, and particularly smaller operations, will find this Guide a useful tool to develop their safety management system.
The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 requires you to have effective ways of managing health and safety. You are not legally required to use this Guide, but it will help you to comply with the intention of the law.
For the purposes of this Guide, “should” indicates that the recommendation be adopted where practicable to comply with the requirement to “take all practicable steps” as required by the Act and Regulations.
“Shall” is used in places where there are legal obligations required by the Act, Regulations, or where a practice is considered the minimum threshold for safety standards. It is used to alert the reader to the need for that recommendation to be implemented.
Further information on the HSE Act 1992 (and how it applies to your business and the safety management system you create) can be found in Appendix A.
This Guide should provide a good starting point for you to develop your safety management system and put it in place at your workplace. Each chapter contains information that may help you to prepare your safety management system. It gives you a base from which you may seek more information from other sources.
The aim is to produce a safer operation, not to prepare a set of documents that sit in a folder in an office. You can choose to use as much of the Guide as you want, depending on whether you want to build a safety management system from scratch or just pick and choose parts to improve your current systems. Once you have a basic safety management system, it should grow and change year to year as the operation develops.
To develop your safety management system, you do not need to be an occupational health and safety expert or specialist. Much of the necessary expertise is likely to reside within your organisation already; that is, with the people on your farm with suitable experience and training in the agriculture industry and your business specifically. Expert input may be needed in certain circumstances.
Consultation, communication and leadership are key to developing and using your safety management system. People who work on your farm should be involved in the preparation of the programs that make up the safety management system. Good leadership is required to achieve success and to get things happening and to keep things moving.
An H&S policy is a statement by the business about its commitment and intent to manage and improve occupational health and safety.
The reasons for having a written health and safety policy are:
Important points to consider when writing the policy are:
Your policy statement could include the following references:
To enhance commitment to the policy it is good practice for it to also be agreed to and signed by H&S representatives and managers, or, on small sites, by the whole workforce.
|The H&S Policy is kept current with workplace changes and legislation|
|The H&S Policy is clearly stated and easily understood|
|The H&S Policy is communicated to all employees|
|The H&S Policy is signed by senior management|
|The H&S Policy is adhered to in all work activities|
|The H&S Policy is a summary of the company’s commitments|
|The H&S Policy is well displayed around the workplace|
|The H&S Policy is clear about the workplace/s to which it applies|
|The H&S Policy is reviewed at least every year|
An annual safety improvement plan sets out a business's occupational health and safety objectives and targets for the year. A yearly plan should be developed based on the principles in the policy, and focused on more specific safety goals for the business year.
The plan should be based on the management of identified hazards or shortcomings, as well as to set new goals to meet. The plan should be developed in a yearly meeting, with representation from management, H&S representatives, and staff. Goals which were not achieved in the previous year can be rolled over to the next.
Specific targets can include:
|An annual improvement plan was put in place|
|Progress has been made towards the goals on the plan|
Documents are a key part of any safety management system and should be prepared, maintained, and stored to meet the needs of the business. Your document control system will be appropriate to the needs of each workplace.
In New Zealand, financial document retention is legally required for seven years. However, it is good practice to retain all business-related records for seven years, except in the case of living documents, where there is one version, continuously updated. (Note: Medical records shall be retained for ten years.)
The safety management system needs to be kept up to date and available at all times.
Some of the documents that should be kept and maintained include:
Where safety management system programs are joined with the overall workplace business management system, H&S documents should fit into existing documentation and all material should be stored securely – either electronically or in paper form.
|All documents are marked with version, date and the appropriate organisation, division, function, activity, or contact
|All documents are regularly reviewed, updated as necessary and approved by authorised personnel before issue|
|Current documents are available at all locations where needed|
|Outdated documents are promptly removed from all points of issue|
|All documents that need to be kept for legal or historical reasons are identified|
|There is a “Document Master List” which provides a record of all processes and registers|
|There is a review process to double-check all documents and ensure they have the required information written on them prior to sign-off|
Allocate responsibilities within your safety management system to people who have the knowledge and skills to make the safety management system effective. Responsibilities and accountabilities should be discussed with employees and signed off when an agreement has been reached.
Being clear about health and safety responsibilities and accountabilities will ensure all tasks to manage health and safety have been allocated; and that the allocated tasks fit within the level of authority, skills and knowledge of the individual.
To ensure that each person employed at the site is aware of and understands their roles, employers, jointly with employees, need to record the responsibilities for each position. Record the management structure for your operation, including all responsibilities and accountabilities.
Nominate who will be responsible for identifying and recording the information. A copy should go:
|All tasks have been allocated to a responsible and competent person|
|A back-up person has been allocated in each case|
|Induction and/or training on each task has been delivered|
|Responsibilities have been documented|
Employee participation can be an effective means of reducing injuries as well as helping overall business efficiency. It makes workers feel empowered, involved and valued which has flow on benefits beyond health and safety.
Under the Act, employers shall provide their employees with ‘reasonable opportunities’ to participate in improving health and safety in their workplace.
The HSE Act does not require employers to adopt a particular system. In fact, there is a clear expectation that employers and employees (and their unions when elected by the employees), will, in good faith, work out systems and processes that best suit the workplace’s particular circumstances. This collaboration should provide the best opportunities for employees to participate effectively in health and safety. Where employers and employees cannot agree on an employee participation system, a default system set out in the HSE Act applies and workers can elect Health and Safety Representatives and they can be part of any H&S committee.
WorkSafe strongly recommends all businesses should consider:
A copy of the minutes for every H&S meeting will be posted on the notice board for an agreed period of time, to allow all staff to access them, with the master filed with all other records.
|There are trained H&S representatives for each workplace and shift with clearly defined functions|
|Scheduled H&S meetings are being held|
The concept of a hazard is central to the Act’s focus on preventing harm. A hazard is a source of harm. Hazards must be systematically identified and managed.
Hazard management is all about identifying how someone could be harmed in the workplace and putting in place effective measures to prevent that harm occurring. Hazard management is the basis of all health and safety management.
There are three basic steps to Hazard Management:
It is important to regularly review these steps when the work environment changes, new technology is introduced, or standards change.
There are a number of methods of identifying potential sources of injury or illness. Selection of the right one will depend on the type of work processes and hazards involved.
Methods may range from a simple checklist for a piece of equipment or substance, to an open-ended appraisal of a group of related work processes. A combination of methods outlined below may provide the best results.
These processes can be carried out by a group that is selected for this purpose because of their knowledge and expertise, or even a trained facilitator.
On a less formal level, Toolbox meetings can provide an opportunity to conduct more team-based hazard identification, as well as to reconfirm employee knowledge of known hazards and their controls. And finally, individuals, as part of their everyday work, can identify potential hazards simply by thinking before they act.
Some hazards exist in the work process, such as mechanical hazards, noise, or the toxic properties of substances. Other hazards result from equipment machine failures and misuse, structural failures, control or power system failures and chemical spills.
It is useful to consider these types of hazards when identifying work related hazards to ensure that a wide range is considered. The table below lists some types of hazards together with some specific examples. You should have a list of hazard sources, the way in which that hazard occurs, the areas of the workplace or work process where it occurs, and the people exposed to that hazard. The hazard prompt list below will help in identifying hazards and developing inspection checklists.
|Types of hazards include||Examples|
|Gravity||falling objects, falls of people|
|Nip points||caught between|
|Struck by||being hit|
|Kinetic energy||projectiles, penetrating objects|
|Hazardous substances||skin contact, inhalation|
|Thermal energy||spills and splashes of hot matter|
|Extremes of temperature||effects of heat or cold|
|Radiation||ultra violet, arc flashes, micro waves, lasers|
|Vibration||to hands and body|
|Human Factors||drugs, alcohol, stress, fatigue|
Once a hazard has been identified it needs to be recorded in the Hazard Register.
There is a hierarchy of controls or preferred order of control measures, which range from the most effective to the least effective. The hierarchy of control measures is:
Elimination – removing the hazard or hazardous work practice. This is the most effective control measure;
Isolation – preventing people from interacting with the hazard e.g. machine guarding, remote handling;
Minimisation – if the hazard cannot be removed, replaced or isolated, a minimising control is the next preferred measure. This may include changes to tools or equipment, providing guarding to machinery or equipment, and introducing work practices that reduce the risk. This could include limiting the amount of time a person is exposed to a particular hazard and providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where appropriate.
There may be circumstances where more than one control measure should be used to reduce exposure to hazards.
By using these controls you will be able to remove or reduce the exposure of the hazard to employees. When setting up these controls it is always better to remove the risk rather than just issue employees with PPE. As a hazard is controlled, it should be updated in the Hazard Register.
Constantly reviewing hazards and control measures is important to ensure they continue to be relevant and stop or control exposure to hazards or hazardous work practices. This includes monitoring the health of those employees exposed.
|Responsibility has been allocated for hazard management briefing of everyone who comes on to the workplace|
|The site is inspected frequently|
|Identified hazards are controlled and monitored|
|The hazard register is kept up to date|
Workplace inspections are one of the best tools for finding problems and assessing their risks before accidents or other losses occur.
A well-managed inspection schedule should meet such goals as:
Inspection, detection and correction activities are hard to beat as ways of showing employees that their health and safety is important.
Two broad categories are ‘informal’ inspections and ‘planned’ inspections. Both are important. Both are discussed below, with major emphasis on planned inspections.
Regular, planned inspections of all aspects of the workplace – plant (fixed and mobile), vehicles, buildings, yards – are necessary to pick up and deal with hazards before they result in accidents.
Workplace inspections are part of on-going risk assessment and help in identifying which parts of your safety management system are working well. They are all part of continually improving your safety management system and in turn the safety of those in your workplace.
What’s to be inspected, how often, what do you need to look for, who’s doing the looking and what has to be done with the information collected will make up your inspection program.
Here are some steps to use when developing a formal inspection plan:
Here are some key points that will help make inspections more effective:
Informal inspections can be conducted by managers or supervisors at any time. Ad hoc inspections can miss things that take extra effort to find. To overcome this problem, some supervisors note problem items during a shift to check on and remedial actions to be taken. Employees should be aware of this possibility that inspections could be conducted unexpectedly.
Another form of informal inspection is simply when people are aware of their environment as they work. Periodically stopping to reassess their surroundings can alert employees to new hazards.
|An inspection process has been agreed upon and mapped|
|The site is formally inspected regularly|
|Staff are encouraged to conduct informal checks before and during their working day|
|Inspection documentation is kept up to date|
Workers may be exposed to crop dusts, diesel exhaust emissions, a wide range of hazardous chemicals and noise. These hazards can impact on workers slowly over time, and effects vary from person to person.
It is possible to measure physical, chemical and biological hazards, such as dust, heat, noise, vibration, radiation, fumes and bacteria. These activities are referred to as work environment monitoring. Information on specific environmental hazards can be found in Appendix A.
It is not always practical to remove the hazard altogether. Where hazards and their risks are controlled only, one way of measuring how successful the control strategies have been is to monitor the effect on people and their health.
Monitoring people’s health following exposure to the hazards should never be seen as a control in itself but only as an indicator of the effectiveness of the controls you have put into place.
Another form of health surveillance involves monitoring people’s health to ensure that they remain fit to perform their tasks where their health may directly impact on the health and safety of others. An example would be the health of the drivers of heavy goods and dangerous goods vehicles. Employees should be made aware of and consent to health surveillance from the start of their employment with the company.
Health surveillance may also give people early warning of medical conditions that can be treated before they become a problem, affect their health or prevent them from working.
To ensure that a health surveillance program yields accurate results, a baseline health assessment at the start of employment is recommended. This identifies pre-existing conditions, and allows subsequent testing to demonstrate whether the employee’s health is worsening as a result of workplace hazards. In the case of work which requires the use of hearing protection, a baseline hearing check should be considered necessary.
While hazards of the work environment may not immediately present dangers to the workforce, it is their combined nature that poses real issues if left unattended.
|Work environment hazards have been identified and documented|
|Environmental elements have been included into the inspection schedule and hazard register|
|A policy of health surveillance has been agreed on and incorporated into contracts and induction where appropriate|
|Inspection documentation is kept up to date|
While the main purpose of your safety management system is to prevent incidents, emergency events can occur.
The purpose of an emergency response plan is to:
Each workplace needs to plan for these events. They are generally incidents that may be unlikely to occur but with potential high consequences. A set of plans (known as the emergency response plan) and procedures for how to deal with these events shall be developed and regularly tested to ensure that the effects of these unplanned events are minimised.
Emergency response plans may include, but not be limited to, the following:
There are specific requirements relating to emergencies relating to hazardous substances. references should be made to the hazardous substances section of this guide.
All potential emergency situations need to be identified and emergency procedures documented for preventing and minimising injury and illness.
Identifying potential emergency situations is the key to having effective emergency response plans. Developing the plan begins with emergency assessment.
The results of emergency assessment will show:
The emergency assessment may result in a list that may include:
Any of the above can be related. For example a collision could result in major trauma and a fire or explosion .
At the planning stage it is important to include employees who may have had experience in emergency work, such as volunteer fire fighters, volunteer rescue service or first aiders. They can help identify emergencies and the response procedures needed. Other emergency events may be known from previous experience or local knowledge. Also look at other risk assessments that you have done such as safe work procedures, workplace inspections and accident investigations. Discuss the issues with other farmers.
Rural fires are a particularly hazardous actvity carried out on farms. For more information refer to Rural Fires in the Managing Health and Safety: A Guide for Farmers Good Practice Guide.
The final consideration is a list and the location of what emergency equipment is needed. The table below lists some possible emergency equipment and locations.
|Medical suppplies (first aid kits)||- Office
- Implements shed
|Fire extinguishers||- Office
- Implements shed
|Emergency chemical spill kit||HSNO/Agrichem store|
|Trained personnel||All senior employees first aid trained|
To develop standard emergency procedure, you should first list what potential emergencies may occur at your workplace. You should have identified these during your hazard management process.
The procedure needs to be posted in the workplace. This will need to be in an obvious location, ideally close to your communication system so contact with emergency services can be made. It can be posted in multiple locations.
The emergency response plan will be made up of procedures for the identified emergencies. Emergency response is about making rapid decisions due to time and the circumstances.
The emergency response plan should have specific duties, responsibilities and authorities.
Some of these are:
To ensure good emergency response, you should:
All employees should be trained and educated so they know what to do for their role and responsibilities in the event of an emergency.
There should be a schedule developed for training and refresher training for all employees for all emergency events identified.
The emergency response plan should be reviewed (and where necessary revised) after an incident or emergency event. Planning for emergencies is vital.
Planning helps prevent injury to people, damage to property or the work environment.
A farm map of the total workplace needs to be drawn, showing the location of all potential emergencies. This is so that employees, visitors, and emergency services will be able to find emergency equipment to control a situation (fire extinguishers, etc.), identify areas of high risk, or find alternate entry and exit points. A standard site map could be used, once the emergency features have been included.
This farm map needs to be displayed in the workplace and provided to emergency services.
MBIE has produced First Aid for Workplace, A Good Practice Guide. This publication outlines expectations regarding first aid equipment and staff in the workplace.
|Emergency procedures have been agreed upon and documented, with signage prominently displayed|
|All employees, contractors, and sub-contractors have been trained in the use of the procedures and their training recorded|
|Emergency drills are conducted regularly|
|All emergency documentation, including records of first aiders and emergency equipment, is kept up to date|
A program of planned maintenance is essential to achieving and sustaining health and safety at your workplace.
Health and safety legislation places a general duty on businesses to maintain machinery and equipment in a safe operating condition.
Controls, emergency stops, access and guarding systems shall be maintained in full functional order. Priority for this should be no less than for maintaining any other part of a machine. Machines that are designed to function automatically should be maintained in this condition to avoid the need for operators to intervene manually and place themselves at risk. Modifications and repairs shall be conducted by an appropriate person (in some cases, a Certified Practicing Engineer – CPEng) and documented.
Equipment that is solely or mainly H&S equipment shall have a high priority for maintenance. These include:
Checklists should be prepared and used to check and confirm condition mechanical integrity, and correct operation. These should include all tasks and be based on machinery and equipment manufacturer recommendations and your own experience. The use of these checklists will provide information for operators, supervisors and managers.
Safe work procedures shall be observed while carrying out the above maintenance tasks.
Unplanned maintenance activities often present a greater risk of injury than the normal operation of machinery. For this reason greater control and supervision is required. It would be an advantage to have a breakdown procedure or checklist. Questions to be asked include the following:
One of the most practical parts of any safety management plan is scheduling and recording maintenance activities. The use of mobile and fixed plant presents some of the greatest hazards. All plant should be inspected and serviced using service manuals and known safe methods.
|Maintenance records have been established for each piece of equipment|
|Maintenance has been completed and certified on all equipment|
|Repairs are completed promptly by a competent person, and certified where appropriate or needed|
|All maintenance documentation, including service manuals, is kept up to date|
A key part of an safety management system is to evaluate accidents and near-miss incidents so that the chances of the same or similar incidents happening again can be removed or at least reduced. To achieve this requires good investigation and keeping of records to monitor progress.
An incident is an event resulting in, or having the potential for injury or illness, or damage to machinery and equipment, or the possibility of injury or damage. An event that does not cause injury or damage is called a near miss.
Following an incident, the integrity of the scene must be preserved. Apart from the need to administer aid to those hurt in the incident, and stabilising anything that could cause further harm, the scene should be cordoned off until initial investigations are completed and, where applicable, clearance to release the scene has been given by a health and safety inspector.
Serious harm means death, or harm of a kind or description declared by the Governor-General by Order in Council to be serious for the purposes of the Act; and “seriously harmed” has a corresponding meaning.
Until such an Order in Council is made, the following types of harm are defined in Schedule 1 as “serious harm” for the purposes of the Act:
Certain information must be recorded to meet your health and safety legal requirements. Health and safety legislation requires that some types of accidents and incidents be reported and fully investigated. All accidents and near misses must be recorded in the farm's accident register. You must be aware of the legislation that applies to your farm and what your reporting requirements are.
Everyone in the workplace shall report incidents.
Accident investigation is a process of gathering facts and breaking them down by continually asking ‘why’. Only then can you identify the underlying causes, put controls in place and prevent it happening again.
Because accidents are never caused by a single factor, it is important to identify all the causes and put in the right controls. Human error may only be one small part of the cause, and process failure or poor management could be the real catalysts.
All incidents and near misses should be investigated. This investigation should take place as soon as possible after the incident happens. Getting the investigation started quickly is important as crucial evidence can be disturbed or destroyed as time passes. Important information from people involved in or witnessing the accident or incident may be lost if the investigation is not started as soon as possible.
Investigations should not be confined to the immediate scene. Information from safety records, safe work procedures, manufactures handbooks and authoritative (e.g. government) publications may indicate particular areas of concern.
Management should appoint an appropriate and objective person to conduct an investigation. This could be the manager and/or supervisor responsible for the area where the incident occurred, or someone external. Involving an employee or employee representative who knows the work area in the investigation can help to identify the causes and corrective actions required.
Incidents that are reported to WorkSafe may require the involvement of the manager and experts from outside the workplace. Anyone who carries out an investigation should have some training. The site should not be disturbed during and after an injured person is removed, unless for immediate safety reasons, until WorkSafe personnel give clearance to do so.
It is advisable that more than one person carries out accident and incident investigation.
The investigation should have:
Incident investigations are aimed at preventing future accidents and incidents; it is not about blame. This should be stressed to employees who are interviewed in an investigation, so that all relevant information can be gained.
To effectively collect accident and incident data, you require a simple documented system that allows you to implement ways to prevent the incidents from recurring.
|An incident register has been established, and includes all incidents, including near misses|
|Processes to preserve incident scenes for investigation have been established|
|Any incidents are reported promptly|
|Investigations are conducted to determine the cause of any incidents|
|Processes are put in place to prevent incidents from reoccurring|
Contractors and sub-contractors play a major role in many workplaces.
Your responsibility extends to the health and safety of all people who undertake tasks on your farm – full time, part time and casual employees, contractors and their employees, sub-contractors and consultants. They, in turn, have certain responsibilities to you as the employer (principal) and it is in pulling these two sets of responsibilities together that a program for contractor and sub-contractor management can be developed.
It is important to note that contractors and sub-contractors have the same level of care requirements to their employees as the principal does. They need to be informed of all health and safety procedures, audits, investigations and the like so that they can assess the safety of their employees on site.
The level of risk that is involved in work to be done can assist in determining the level of control.
More information on contracting situations can be found in A principal’s guide to contracting to meet the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 http://www.business.govt.nz/worksafe/information-guidance/all-guidance-items/a-principals-guide-to-contracting-to-meet-the-health-and-safety-in-employment-act-1992-1?searchterm=a+principa
|Induction has been developed for all visitors and contractors, including emergency procedures and workplace rules|
|All visitors and contractors sign in and out of the workplace|
|The induction process is reviewed regularly and documented|
One of the requirements of health and safety legislation is that employees must be trained and supervised to carry out their work safely. A very high number of serious injuries happen to young workers, new employees, people undertaking new or different work, and sometimes after having a long period of leave.
Training is a means of sharing knowledge and developing skills and attitudes. It is one way of influencing behaviour and improving health and safety.
Employers should implement a training program, which will:
A formal training program should include a range of tasks and outcomes and should:
Induction training is usually the first introduction to the workplace. It is usually a formal training session and basic on-the-job training, which can be conducted by a supervisor/manager.
Training should focus on a job or task rather than on an occupation. All employees should be appropriately trained for the tasks and processes they are involved with.
For employees involved with equipment and changing work site conditions, training should include techniques for identifying potential malfunctions, hazardous conditions and unsafe work situations.
Refresher training should be included in operational training programs, and should include briefing techniques for updating individuals, supervisors and managers on changes in work practices, new equipment operating procedures and changes in the working environment generally.
Workplace instruction and training programs should be reviewed regularly and employees supervised on an on-going basis.
The type of training that each person at the site needs depends on:
On all farms, no matter how large or small, everyone needs training in health and safety matters; this will include:
The basic aim of health and safety training is to impress the principles of good health, accident and incident prevention and safe behaviour upon employees so that they will apply these principles to their work. Some training needs to be specific to the task or role of the employee.
The need for health and safety training at work is continuous. As circumstances at work change, there will always be the need to ask the questions:
Typical times when you need to ask these questions are:
Training programs are best planned if everyone at work:
Conducting a health and safety training needs analysis (TNA) will ensure that the people at your workplace get the type of training they require to perform their tasks.
It will enable you to ensure that the training is relevant to the job and the changing needs of the workplace.
A TNA involves looking at all aspects of work, including the work environment, the actual jobs people do and the skills and knowledge of each person at work. Once this information is collected, then you can start to plan what training your operation needs.
Employees are one of the most important assets of any operation. Training employees to perform their roles competently is vital to any workplace.
|Employee records include training schedules and certification|
|Training and re-training is conducted promptly|
All workplaces should, as part of hazard management, have processes to ensure that employees are fit for work. Employees who are not fit are potentially a hazard.
Fit for work means that an individual is physically and mentally able to perform assigned tasks competently and in a manner which does not compromise the safety or health of themselves or others. Linking up with Employment Assistance Programme can help an employer to develop and manage processes relating to employee wellbeing and fitness for work.
The HSE Act defines a hazard to include:
Fitness for work can be impaired by a number of factors including:
General principles for dealing with fitness for work issues include:
Reference – good information on impairment factors can be found at: http://www.business.govt.nz/worksafe/information-guidance/pdf-documents-library/impairment.pdf and in Appendix B.
Information on managing the effects of shift work can be found at: http://www.business.govt.nz/worksafe/information-guidance/all-guidance-items/managing-shift-work-to-minimise-workplace-fatigue-a-guide-for-employers/managing-shiftwork-fatigue-employers-07.pdf
|Policies are developed and agreed upon to manage shifts|
|Codes of conduct and policies are included in induction|
|Performance management and Return To Work systems are in place and documented|
Many chemicals and fuels used on farms are hazardous and are controlled under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO).
Hazardous substances used on farms include:
Hazardous substances are classified according to their hazardous properties. Hazardous substances may have one or more the following properties:
All hazardous substances must be approved by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) under HSNO. An approval lists the controls, or rules, that apply to the substance so that the risks to people and the environment are safely managed.
HSNO requires a person in charge at all workplaces to manage hazardous substances. On a farm, this will normally be the farm owner or manager. They must make sure that the farm complies with all the HSNO controls.
You need to know what hazardous substances you have and how to manage them. Product labels and safety data sheets (SDSs) provide information about the product’s hazards and how to manage them. Manufacturers and suppliers must only sell correctly labelled substances and must provide compliant and up to date SDS for hazardous substances.
SDSs contain important information about:
Make sure you have SDSs for all your hazardous substances. Contact your supplier who must provide them.
Which controls you have to follow depends on the type and amounts of hazardous substances you have. Make a list, or inventory, of all the hazardous substances you have, the amounts you have, their hazards and approval numbers. The approval number should be on the SDS. You can use the information in your inventory on the HSNO Calculator (www.hazardoussubstances.govt.nz) and the Approved Hazardous Substances with Controls Database with on the Environmental Protection Authority website (www.epa.govt.nz).
The Hazardous Substances website (www.hazardoussubstances.govt.nz) provides information on hazardous substances and controls. It also has the HSNO calculator.
Staying safe with chemicals and fuels on farms is a WorkSafe good practice guide about hazardous substances on farms, it is available here – [to be filled in when published]
The Environmental Protection Authority’s website (www.epa.govt.nz) contains information about hazardous substance approvals.
Get your safety management system underway before giving any attention to auditing it. One year after you’ve had a safety management system in operation, have a look at whether it’s working.
A good review can start with two basic questions asked honestly:
These questions can be asked informally so they have immediate appeal. However, just as a structured (formal) workplace inspection can detect hazards that are not so obvious, a structured review will help identify concerns that might otherwise go unnoticed.
As time goes by and your experience and level of comfort with a safety management system increases you might be wise to engage a fresh set of eyes to have a look for any strengths, gaps or improvement areas. The checklists at the bottom of each section can be used together as an auditing tool, as can the Workplace Safety Management Practices (WSMP) audit checklist produced by ACC.
This summary of the Act provides some advice as to the interpretation of the Act. It should not replace legal advice and if you have any queries, seek assistance from a health and safety professional and/or legal counsel as appropriate.
The object of the Act is to prevent harm to all people at work and people in the vicinity of a place of work. The Act does this by:
The Act creates duties for most people connected with places of work, including:
Regulations are promulgated from time to time under the Act. Regulations may, among other things, impose duties on employers, employees, designers, manufacturers and others relating to health and safety. These regulations may apply to places of work, plant, processes or substances, and may deal with particular problems that have arisen.
The Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995 require the provision of facilities such as toilets, first aid, facilities for employees to wash, a place to have meals and the provision of wholesome and sufficient drinking water. The regulations also set a range of general health and safety and welfare requirements in addition to the Act, including:
Approved codes of practice are provided for in the Act. They are statements of preferred work practice or arrangements, and may include procedures which could be taken into account when deciding on the practicable steps to be taken. Compliance with codes of practice is not mandatory. However, compliance with an approved code of practice may be used in court as evidence of an employer or other duty holder having taken “all practicable steps” to meet the duty.
Employers have a general duty to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work. In particular, they are required to take all practicable steps to:
Taking all practicable steps means doing what is reasonably able to be done in the circumstances, taking into account:
A person is required to take all practicable steps in respect of circumstances that they know or ought reasonably to know about.
Employers shall identify and regularly review hazards in the place of work (existing, new and potential) to determine whether they are “significant hazards” and require further action. If an accident or harm occurs that requires particulars to be recorded, employers are required to have the matter investigated to determine if it was caused by or arose from a significant hazard.
Significant hazard means a hazard that is an actual or potential cause or source of:
The Act requires all employers, principals, and persons in control of a place of work to take all practicable steps to ensure that workers are not exposed to hazards by following an effective hazard identification process. This involves the following steps.
Where the hazard is significant, the Act sets out the steps employers shall take.
The first stage of identifying hazards occurs in the design and work planning phase. It is at this time that the generic hazards associated with that type of work and some of the specific hazards for the job are identified.
During the planning phases it may be possible to identify ways to eliminate a potential hazard, for example by using different equipment.
One way to ensure hazards are adequately identified is to complete a task analysis prior to commencing the work and include workplace-specific hazards. This enables a review of the proposed work practices and provides an opportunity to plan for any safety equipment or tools required for the control of the hazards.
Once you have identified the hazard, you shall assess the risk of harm occurring. Taking all practicable steps means doing what is reasonably able to be done in the circumstances, taking into account:
The control hierarchy is outlined in the Act and requires people to take all practicable steps to control each hazard. The Act is very specific about the order in which you need to consider the appropriate control/s for a hazard.
In order of preference, the methods of control are:
To take all practicable steps to control a hazard, you should plan the work to identify how to control it.
Ways to assess which control is appropriate for each identified hazard include:
Before employees begin work, they must be informed by their employer of:
Employers are also required to inform employees of the results of any health and safety monitoring. In doing so, the privacy of individual employees must be protected.
Where there are employee health and safety representatives, the employer must ensure that the representatives have ready access to sufficient information about health and safety systems and issues in the place of work to enable them to be able to carry out their functions effectively.
An employer must ensure that every employee has the knowledge and experience required to do the work – or is supervised by someone who has – so that they are not likely to suffer harm, or lead to the harm of others. This includes every employee who:
Every employee must be adequately trained in the safe use of all plant, objects, substances, protective clothing and equipment that they are, or may be, required to use or handle.
Employers are also responsible for the health and safety of others arising from the work activities of their employees. They must take all practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction of an employee while at work causes harm to any other person.
The Act places duties on persons who control a place of work in relation to people in the vicinity, and to visitors.
A person who controls a place of work includes a person who owns, leases, subleases or occupies a place of work, or who owns, leases or subleases plant or equipment used in a place of work.
Every self-employed person shall take all practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction of theirs while at work harms the self-employed person or any other person.
Principals engaging contractors are required to take all practicable steps to ensure that no employee of a contractor or sub-contractor, or if an individual, no contractor or sub-contractor is harmed while doing any work (other than residential work) that the contractor was engaged to do.
The Act places duties on people to ensure that any plant or equipment that is used in a place of work is designed and made, and has been maintained, so that it is safe for its intended use. The duties apply to people who:
Every employee shall take all practicable steps to ensure:
Employees have a right to refuse to undertake work that they consider likely to cause them serious harm. However, employees have an obligation to attempt to resolve the matter with their employer. If the matter remains unresolved and the employee believes (on reasonable grounds) that the work could cause them serious harm, they may continue to refuse to do the work. (Section 28A)
People receiving on-the-job training or work experience, loaned employees and volunteer workers are all deemed to be employees of an employer or self-employed person for whom they are working. Most employer duties apply, but not the duty to provide opportunities for employee participation.
Employers must provide reasonable opportunities for employees to participate effectively in on-going processes for the improvement of health and safety in the place of work. Where there are more than 30 employees, or where an employee or union representing employees requests it, the employer must seek agreement on, develop, implement and maintain a system of employee participation. Where agreement cannot be reached on the system of employee participation, there are default provisions set out in the Act.
Where employee health and safety representatives are elected, they are entitled to paid leave to attend approved training courses.
A trained employee health and safety representative may issue a hazard notice to an employer where they believe there is a hazard in the place of work, they have brought it to the employer’s attention and the issue has not been resolved.
Employers and employees must deal with each other in good faith while seeking agreement on, developing and maintaining a system of employee participation.
This section refers to the Regulations. There are some activities that are considered by their very nature to be particularly hazardous. This work may have additional requirements to ensure worker safety. These requirements may include items such as licensing, registration and certificates of competence.
Section 26 of the Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995 outlines the requirement to notify WorkSafe if you are undertaking one of these activities. A form for notification of hazardous work can be found on the WorkSafe website:
The Act requires employers, the self-employed and principals to contractors to keep a register of work-related accidents and serious harm.
For employers, this includes every accident that harmed (or might have harmed):
Employers are also required to investigate all accidents, harm and “near misses” to determine whether they were caused by a significant hazard. Serious harm is defined in Schedule 1 of the Act.
Any occurrences of serious harm of a kind that must be recorded shall also be notified to the Secretary of Labour (in practice, the nearest MBIE office) as soon as possible after the occurrence becomes known to the employer. In addition, the accident must also be reported in the prescribed form within seven days. Forms are available from the WorkSafe website:
All dusts that can be breathed in must be considered harmful in some degree. Crop and grain dust are particular hazards in an agricultural environment.
Measuring noise levels and workers’ noise exposures is the most important part of a workplace hearing conservation and noise control program. It helps identify work locations where there are noise problems, employees who may be affected, and where additional noise measurements need to be made.
A noise survey involves measuring noise levels at selected locations throughout an entire plant or in workplaces underground to identify noisy areas, and is usually done with a sound level meter.
Safety and Health regulations allow for a maximum exposure to sound of 85 decibels over an eight-hour day without the use of hearing protection. Hearing protection should be used appropriate to the levels of hazardous noise present in the work environment.
AS/NZS 1269, 2005 charts the class of hearing protection needed based on the levels of hazardous noise.
|Class||dB(A) over an 8 hour period|
|1||Less than 90|
|2||90 to less than 95|
|3||95 to less than 100|
|4||100 to less than 105|
|5||105 to less than 110|
For information on noise levels associated with agricultural equipment, refer to the table on typical noise levels of farm equipment / processes.
Vibration can cause permanent damage to health including:
In the case of any concern about the level of vibration sustained by an employee, an ergonomic assessment should be conducted and steps taken to mitigate it.
Manual handling injuries include:
The employee should be informed and trained in:
Most manual handling injuries can be prevented by education, training, and supervision. Safe work procedures should be prepared by employers with the help of employees to care for the special needs of young and new workers.
Although exposure to small amounts of UV radiation can have beneficial effects, such as vitamin D synthesis in the skin, overexposure can cause serious acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) health effects. The amount of radiation produced or sustained can be measured with specialised instruments.
Visibility on a worksite can be seriously compromised by fog. When workers can’t see obstacles around them, or where the edge of a cliff or a workmate using tools, it constitutes a hazard.
Working hard for hours at a time in hot and sunny conditions can lead to the risk of heat strain or heat stroke. These are serious health conditions that, if not identified and managed appropriately, can lead to long-term damage to the body, and death in some cases. Exposing the skin to the sun will rapidly lead to sunburn for people with light-coloured skin. Prolonged exposure significantly increases the chances of developing sun spots or cancerous melanomas.
Working outside in cold, rainy or even snowy conditions can also cause health problems. Working in the cold reduces the rate of blood flow around the body, meaning that the body’s extremities (including fingers and toes) are susceptible to serious injury, such as frostnip, frostbite or trench foot.
Workers should always wear clothing and use protective equipment appropriate to the conditions, and ensure they are hydrated. Shade and/or shelter should be considered as a control.
Fatigue (or tiredness) is a reduced state of mental alertness. Fatigue is cumulative. This means that it gets worse over a period of time. The effect of this can be that if someone has a week of insufficient sleep, the fatigue will get worse each day. It will not be made up by one good night’s sleep.
Fatigue can arise from work demands (e.g. long working hours) and also from what happens outside of work (e.g. where the person does not use time between shifts for sufficient rest). Fatigue can also be caused by a medical condition known a Sleep Apnoea or by medication that the employee may be taking for some other medical condition.
Strategies to avoid fatigue related issues include:
Dehydration can be a significant issue when employees work outside in conditions of extreme heat. High temperatures and humidity stress the body’s ability to cool itself, and heat illness (dehydration) becomes a special concern. There are three major forms of heat illnesses: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, with heat stroke being a life threatening condition. In its mildest form dehydration will cause fatigue.
Dehydration is classified as mild, moderate or severe based on how much of the body’s fluid is lost or not replenished. When severe, dehydration is a life-threatening emergency.
Strategies to avoid dehydration issues include:
This includes but is not limited to; relationship difficulties, concern for family members, grief stress, work related issues.
Distress will cause an employee to be distracted and where it continues for long periods will produce feelings of discomfort, fatigue, and physical illness. At all stages it has the potential to impact on safety at work.
Strategies to manage personal issues include:
Anyone on site who is under the influence of drugs and /or alcohol is a safety hazard and the farmer has the right and responsibility to take action.
Strategies for managing the hazard of drugs and alcohol include:
AS/NZS 4801:2001 – Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems – Specification with guidance for use
ACC Workplace Safety Management Practices (WSMP)
Health and Safety in Employment Act – A Guide to
Introducing the Approved Code of Practice for the Management of Noise in the Workplace
Approved Code of Practice for the Management of Noise in the Workplace
Selection and Use of Hearing Protectors
AS/NZS 1269, 1-3, 2005 – Occupational Noise Management
A Guide to Respiratory Protection
Health and Safety in Contracting Situations
A principal’s guide to contracting to meet the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
Safe use of machinery project
Safety management system assessment tool
Approved Code of Practice for the prevention of Sulphur Fires and Explosions
Chemical Safety in the Workplace for Small Businesses
Guidelines for the Management of Work in Extremes of Temperature
What you need to know about Temperature in Places of Work
Managing shift work to minimise workplace fatigue – A guide for small businesses
Managing shift work to minimise workplace fatigue – A guide for employers
Various publications on stress, fatigue, and conflict
Refer to Managing Health and Safety: A guide for Farmers for information on agricultural employee accommodation
First Aid for Workplaces – A Good Practice Guide
|Incident Register||A record of incidents that occur, including date, time, circumstances, and any follow-up action, investigation, etc.|
|Act||The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.|
|Activity Register||A record of planned activities like maintenance, inspections, emergency drills, which contribute to a well-planned safety management system.|
|A description of how health and safety targets will be achieved, including time-scales and persons responsible for implementing the OHS policy.|
|Checklist||A list of items of all issues or tasks, used to ensure they have been assessed or completed.|
|To exchange or share health and safety information. This includes listening to the other person’s point of view.|
|Company||An organisation, group or person(s) being the registered owner and/or operator of the
|Competent||A person who has acquired, through a combination of qualifications, training or experience, the knowledge and skill to perform the task required.|
|Consequence||The outcome of an event, being a loss, injury or disadvantage.|
|Consultation||To seek the views of the people who work at the workplace and to have regard for their views for resolving health and safety matters.|
|Contractor||A person who is not an employee of the operation, who undertakes work at the workplace.|
|Controls||An action taken that eliminates, isolates, or minimises the hazard.|
|Document Control||The systems by which records are kept, including the allocation of responsibility to specific staff members.|
|Drill||A process of testing training, relating to emergency events, which is repeated from time to time.|
|An unplanned event or situation that is not controlled where there is a threat to life or the health and safety of people at or outside the operation.|
(For the purposes of this
|A person who works at the workplace. May include, but not limited to employer, employees, workers, contractors, sub-contractors and consultants.|
|Employee Participation||Any arrangement between an employer and employees (and employee organisations where appropriate) that allows the participation of employees in processes relating to health and safety in the place of work, so that: (a) all persons with relevant knowledge and expertise can help make the place of work healthy and safe; and (b) when making decisions that affect employees and their work, an employer has information from employees who face the health and safety issues in practice.|
|Employer||A person who or that employs any other person to do any work for hire or reward; and, in relation to any employee, means an employer of the employee.|
|Equipment||Refer to machinery|
|Hazard||Something that is an actual or potential cause or source of harm, as per the HSE Act 1992.|
|Hazard assessment||The overall process of analysing and evaluating hazard.|
|Hazard control||Refer to controls.|
|Hazard management||The culture, processes and structures that are directed towards the effective management of potential injury, illness, damage or loss.|
|Hazard rating||The level or hazard assigned following risk assessment (e.g. high, medium, low).|
|Hazard Register||A register to record (in writing) the existence of a hazard, and how and when it is controlled.|
|Hazardous substance||• Any mixture, element or chemical; or
• any solid, liquid or gaseous substance that has the potential, through being used at work, to harm the health or safety of persons in the workplace.
|Health and Safety
|A committee established to support the ongoing improvement of health and safety in a place of work.|
|Health and Safety
|• Elected or appointed definitions as per act
• Trained rep as per the act (hazard notice)
|HSNO||Includes both the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 and HSNO Regulations in relation to hazard classification and life cycle requirements for hazardous substances.|
|Improvement Notice||A notice issued by a Health and Safety inspector under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, requiring a person to comply with a provision of the Act.|
|Likelihood||Used as a description of probability of the hazard occurring.|
|Machinery||Plant that is to be used or is used in a place of work.|
|Manager||The person nominated by the owner to manage the workplace.|
|Monitor||To check, supervise, observe or record the progress of an activity or procedure on a regular basis in order to ensure it is being carried out.|
|Near Miss||An event that has the potential to cause injury or illness if circumstances, such as the interval of time of the event, were different.|
|Objectives||Goals or targets that are to be achieved within the safety management system.|
|OHS (OH&S)||Occupational Health and Safety.|
|Operation||The business, and each workplace within that business.|
|Statement by a site (or company) of its commitment, intentions and principles in relation to its overall health and safety performance.|
|Safety apparel, protective devices and equipment that protect the health and safety of persons.|
|Pre-start||A safety checklist that is undertaken prior to first use of machinery for that day or shift.|
|Principal||A person who or that engages any person (other than an employee) to do any work for gain or reward.|
|Procedure||A set of instructions, rules or a step-by-step description of what’s to be done and by whom.|
|Regulations||Health & Safety in Employment Regulations 1995|
|Review||Checking to see whether goals have been achieved, and to assess what needs to be done in future.|
|SDS||Safety Data Sheet.|
|Serious harm and
|An injury that is defined in Schedule 1 of the HSE Act 1992.|
|Short term||A period of time that is not prolonged. In hazard control terms, a temporary control or a control that is put in place to prevent a potential accident.|
|SMS||Safety Management System (also known as HSMS).|
|Supervisor||A person who has the responsibility for persons who work at the site or at part of the site
and who supervises the activities undertaken – includes persons who act in such a position.
|Safe work procedure
||A written instruction that sets out how an activity is to be undertaken at an operation. It
can be used for training or observing activities for monitoring or review. Also known as:
• Safe Work Method Statement & JSA
• Standard Operating Procedure
• Work Method Statement
• Task Analysis
|Workplace||A place where work is carried out.|
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