3 min read


Contractors. How to manage your obligations

Most farms will engage contractors from time to time, generally for a specific task or seasonal work. This may include seeding, spraying, harvest, picking, shearing, fencing or any other type of contract work.

It’s essential to ensure the health and safety of contractors and their employees, including any sub-contractors and their workers too. They are ‘workers’ under workplace health and safety (WHS) as well so have the same duty, rights and protections as your direct workers when it comes to safety.

When you engage a contractor they also have their own duty towards safety, and in more than one way. They will be a PCBU in their own right, and most likely a worker for you as well. This shared duty can be most effectively managed through good communication and consultation processes, of course which are documented.

Consider who owns the farming equipment the workers will be using. If it’s yours, it is your obligation to the contractor, and workers, to provide a copy of any Safe Work Procedures you have. If they bring their own tools or equipment then they should have their own procedures for safe use.

  • A practical safety induction at the time of engaging a contractor can create a positive relationship with your contractors. This will provide an opportunity to show them key health and safety information such as:
  • Key risks they need to be aware of, for example tracks to be followed when moving around the farm, overhead powerlines, no-go zones etc.
  • Emergency management procedures including identifying first aiders and emergency wardens
  • Relevant Work health and safety policies and procedures
  • How to report hazards, incidents, near misses and injuries
    Case study:
  • Fencing contractor fined $25000 over serious hand injuries, Australian Institute of Health and Safety

Topics: Safety Management System

CTA - Policies and Inductions 2Disclaimer: Content on this website may be of relevance to users outside of Australia, but content links and examples are specific to Australia. Please check with your local authority for your country and industry requirements.

Originally published 05 September, 2019.

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