OSH and your obligations

By Jeremy Blandford

The Health and Safety and Employment Act 1992 places numerous duties on employers to maintain a healthy and safe workplace for everyone.

As general advice, compliance with Federated Farmers Occupational Health and Safety policy and manual will help maintain your commitment as an employer to protect your employees and others on the farm from any injury.

In the event of an accident, evidence of compliance with this policy and of adequate hazard identification and reporting will result in minimal liability for you as an employer.

Generally, your obligations are to identify, assess and control hazards. They should train employees to deal with equipment and processes safely, make visitors to the farm aware of any such hazards and report any accidents or incidents which occur as a result of these hazards to the relevant authorities.

Your employees must be trained adequately to deal safely with the requirements of work on the farm.

You must also provide them with a chance to participate actively in maintaining a healthy and safe working environment. This will mean not only making them aware of their obligations, but also of your obligations as their employer.

Employee obligations should also be included in their employment agreements. Generally, their obligation is to abide by the rules you lay down as an employer, identify any hazards they come across personally and report any accidents or near misses of which they are aware.

You are not obliged to make your farm completely hazard-free, but you do have a duty to provide warnings - either verbally or with signs-of work-related hazards you are aware of.

Visitors and contractors are responsible for their own safety and you are not to blame for any harm caused by natural hazards or risks associated with the activities undertaken. However, you will be if they are not alerted to obvious hazards.

It is a good idea to make provision in contracting agreements as to your health and safety policies on the farm. If you engage a contractor to do work on your farm it is good practice to clearly set out the responsibilities you have as owner of the farm, and the responsibilities the contractor has.

? Call 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646) to purchase your OSH policy, or employment and other related agreements.

- Hamilton News

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