Contractors on farms

This fact sheet provides advice and examples of how farmers and contractors can work together to keep everyone on farm healthy and safe.

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What can farmers do to keep contractors healthy and safe?

Farmers must make sure:

  • that any risks from farm work are reasonably managed (eliminated or minimised) to protect the health and safety of contractors
  • that risks from any previous work carried out on the farm (eg spraying hazardous substances) are reasonably managed to protect the health and safety of contractors
  • that farm buildings and any area where work is being carried out (apart from the farm house) is safe for everyone including contractors.

What can contractors do to keep farmers healthy and safe?

Contractors must make sure:

  • that any risks from their work that could affect the farmer, farm workers or other contractors on the farm are reasonably managed.

If a risk can't be eliminated then it must be minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.

How can farmers and contractors consult, cooperate and coordinate activities with each other?

Farmers and contractors must work together to meet their overlapping duties every time a contractor comes on farm.

Having a face-to-face or over the phone meeting before work starts can help farmers and contractors to reach a common understanding and establish clear roles, responsibilities and actions. It will also prevent any gaps in managing health and safety risks.

The more influence and control a farmer or contractor has over a health and safety matter, the more responsibility they are likely to have.

Checklist for farmers and contractors

Farmer

Possible questions you could ask.

Have I:

  • checked where the contractor will be going/working?
  • got their contact details?
  • got their contact details?
  • told them about any expected or unexpected risks?
  • told them about other work activity on the farm that could pose a risk to them?
  • asked:
    • what they are going to be doing?
    • what risks that poses to others?
    • how we are going to manage and communicate those risks?
  • told them about:
    • farm rules (eg speed limits, alcohol)
    • any expectations of their behaviour on farm?
  • told them about any relevant emergency procedures?
  • determined appropriate time in/time out reporting?
  • made a back-up plan with the contractor if there’s no phone coverage?
  • made a note of what I told them? (eg in the farm diary)

Also consider

  • printing and marking-up a farm map to show hazards
  • getting the contractor to call in at the farmhouse, or phone before starting work
  • helping them across rough terrain using an appropriate vehicle.

 

Contractor

Have I:

  • communicated with the farmer about where I or my team will be going/working?
  • checked with the farmer if there is risk from farm work activity where I will be going/working?
  • told the farmer:
    • what I am going to be doing?
    • what risks it poses to others? (including the farmer)
    • discussed how I am going to manage and communicate those risks?
  • been made aware of any relevant emergency procedures?
  • agreed with the farmer on appropriate time in/time out reporting?
  • made a back-up plan with the farmer if there’s no phone coverage?

Also consider

  • letting the farmer know about any changes in the work that may create additional risks to other persons (including the farmer) on farm.