A new safety resource is now available for farmers utilising telehandlers on their properties to increase awareness of their machinery’s operation and prevent accidents while in use.
Developed by the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF), in conjunction with the Telescopic Handler Association (TSHA), Safe Ag Systems, Holding Redlich and supported by the Queensland Government, the Telehandler Safety Book highlights a range of considerations that serve to improve the ‘state of knowledge’ on telehandler safety.
QFF CEO Dr Georgina Davis said agriculture was one of the most dangerous sectors to work in due to the combination of hazards including heavy plant and machinery, chemicals, noise, dust, sun and heat exposure, working with animals, alone or in remote locations.
“Queensland farmers bear the important responsibility of ensuring they, their workers and other people on-farm are clear about their health and safety responsibilities and building a safety culture. It’s a duty they take very seriously,” Dr Davis said.
“With an average of six deaths on Queensland farms each year and mobile plant and transport accounting for approximately 15 per cent of injuries in the sector, the Telehandler Safety Book is a positive step in promoting and advancing safe workplaces to turn these statistics around.”
TSHA CEO James Oxenham said telehandlers were becoming an essential tool for farms and were one of the most versatile pieces of equipment in the agricultural industry.
“Unfortunately, the versatility that makes them so useful also provides scope for unsafe use. Knowing how to safely use and operate telehandlers is critical. The TSHA is pleased to have been involved in the production of this Telehandler Safety Book which aims to educate and ensure the safe use of telehandlers,” Mr Oxenham said.
“In addition, the TSHA has also developed the TSHA Gold Card. Designed alongside industry to specifically develop the skills and knowledge required to operate telehandlers – the Gold Card is a training program as versatile as the telehandler.”
Safe Ag Systems WHS Manager Angela Harders said the cloud-based safety management solution helping agribusinesses to stay on top of compliance requirements and WHS obligations offered over 300 templates, including a safe work procedure (SWP) for telehandlers.
“The telehandler SWP is a straightforward document which provides information for pre-start, operational and shut down processes, this helps operators understand the risks and instructs on the safe use of the machine. It’s a smart way to ensure operators know how to use the telehandler as safely as possible,” Ms Harders said.
“Businesses can simply copy our telehandler template to their account, amend as needed and attach the approved SWP to the telehandler record. Next time an operator scans the QR code on the telehandler, the SWP pops up making it easy to access! Farmers are encouraged to try Safe Ag Systems with our free 7 Day Trial.”
Holding Redlich Work Health and Safety Partner Edmund Burke said it was essential that farmers had a sound knowledge of the safety requirements of machines such as telehandlers.
“We have an industrial manslaughter charge in Queensland, and it is very possible that the death of an employee could mean a term of imprisonment for the owner of a farm or rural business who has not put adequate safety measures in place,” Mr Burke said.
“Even a near miss incident can be grounds for a criminal prosecution under the Work Health and Safety Act (Qld) 2011 leading to very significant financial penalties being imposed by the courts.”
“That’s why we encourage business owners to pay close attention to publications like the Telehandler Safety Book and to give us a call if they have concerns.”
Read, download and print the Telehandler Safety Book: https://www.qff.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Telehandler-Safety-Book.pdf.