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OSH basics for Lifestyleblock farmers

If you’re confused by the things that OSH expects you to do - don’t worry. There are a lot of country folk in the same boat. After listening to a number of OSH talks, - here’s some very basic points you would be well advised to follow.

  • The OSH act is about "safety of employees in the workplace".
  • The two key words are "employees" and "workplace". If there are problems outside this definition, OSH generally don’t want to know. But don’t take this as Gospel as it depends on the OSH person you talk to.
  • So it’s when your block becomes a "workplace" for someone else, that you must take action.
  • However, if you kill yourself or cut your leg off with a chainsaw, then OSH will be around to see you. And so will ACC.
  • Accidents are caused by "hazards", so your job is to do three things:
  • Identify them
  • Eliminate them
  • Isolate them if they can’t be eliminated
Safety Policy

If you do this well (and it’s not difficult) - then you can call this your "safety policy".

  • Get yourself a notice on your entrance(s) from the road, advising "All visitors to report to your house/office".
  • At the house/office have a Visitors Book recording:
  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Purpose of visit
  • Time arrive and depart
  • Whether hazard list given out
  • Give visitors a list of all the hazards on the farm that have been isolated. Examples would be offal holes (covered and fenced), troughs (covered in mesh), drains (fenced), chainsaws (locked away), weed sprays (locked away), and so on.
  • Add to these hazards any extra verbal or written warnings that you think appropriate.
  • You MUST keep an accident book to report all accidents. What is an accident? Definitions vary but generally it's an event that would make a sensible person visit a doctor, or go off work. But record just about everything just in case your inspector is an enthusiast for detail.