How to induct seasonal and casual workers
Seasonal and casual workers, as well as extended family members can often join the ranks of farm staff to help with the increased workload during peak times such as harvest and seeding. It's important they know your site policies and procedures. A simple way to streamline this process is to create seasonal safety induction kits to train short-term workers during these peak times.
To tailor the induction kits to suit, consider the season and tasks these workers will be undertaking. For example, it is essential they know an emergency response and first aid kit locations, but not as important to be inducted for chemical use or machinery they may not use.
Consider covering the following:
- Farm safety awareness
- Location of known hazards, such as overhead power lines, dams, chemicals storage etc.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Machinery safety
- Safe lifting
- Emergency response
- First aid
- Contact lists
- How to report hazards and incidents
While these workers are coming in at a busy time of year or for a specific task, their induction should be approached with the same time commitment as a long-term worker. Even if your new worker may have been performing similar roles on other farms or have worked on your farm in the past, ensure they understand the current policies on your property.
Do not assume anything! Check and double-check the workers have understood the policies and guidelines and know where safety equipment is. If they are overseas workers, make sure they understand what you expect of them. If they can't speak English all that well, think about creating a short video showing them how to do the task safely. Or use signs and pictures to explain safety. If something goes wrong, the penalties are not just financial - you are responsible for your workers' lives!
A practical safety induction at the time of starting work can create a positive relationship with your workers. Your concern for their health, safety and wellbeing is important, as is conveying to the worker that they play an important role in their own safety and that of their co-workers.
Originally published 14 September, 2017.