Farm policies and procedures are not the most glamorous of topics, but they are an important part of ensuring safety and a profitable farm business. Farm policies and procedures combine to work like a constitution for your farm – laying out the rules, the culture and the standards that govern your farm. This post will discuss the benefits of putting in the effort when planning your farm policies and procedures
Farms are ripe for potential accidents and injuries. While it’s true that many accidents in the workplace are due to human error or plain old carelessness, there are some hazards that are simply unavoidable.
These are hazards that are intrinsic in the nature of farming, and they require specialized safety and health procedures to address.
The implementation of Farm WHS policies and procedures are an important part of any farm operation. Not only for the people that are the workforce on the farm, but also for the animals, the environment, and the future of agriculture.
WHS policies and procedures are a great way to help people understand what is expected of them to create a safe and healthy work environment. They can also help people understand the importance of following procedures to make sure that they are performing the job in the safest manner.
Farm WHS policies and procedures should be planned well in order to be effective.
Here are 6 reasons why:
1. Prevent or minimise health and safety risks
Farmers, farm workers and their families often bear the brunt of injury and illness on the job. The likelihood of injury and illness being more severe is also increased on the farm.
But how can this be avoided?
Well planned policies and procedures that leave no stone unturned – taking everyone and possible scenarios into account would help significantly to prevent or minimize health and safety risks in the farm.
Even the best policies and procedures would fail if they are not adhered to. Effective planning seeks to address this. How? Planning highlights the uniqueness of each farm, its workers, and operations – with this information, employers can develop policies and procedures that workers would easily comply with.
With that, plus the identification of appropriate on-farm operational and equipment handling procedures, emergency response, and effective training, translates to significant prevention or reduction of health and safety risks.
2. Help employers manage staff more effectively
As a farmer, you are responsible for managing the staff, and many have no idea where to start.
Common problems that can arise when trying to manage staff include:
Unruly behaviour, lack of motivation, drop in workers’ productivity and so on. To a large extent, these can all be traced back to poorly planned and executed policies and procedures.
Planning helps you to identify potentially controversial touch points, figure out the strengths and weaknesses of their workers, and then come up with a strategy to get the best out of them as well as ensure their safety.
Proper planning gives rise to grounded policies and procedures that are all encompassing and easily understood by workers. And with consequences clearly communicated, chances are high, employees would be in their best behavior.
3. It saves time and money
If you own a farm or manage one, it goes without saying that you already have a lot on your plate. A properly planned farm policy and procedure can help make their lives easier by saving you time and money.
One of the most cost-effective ways to ensure consistent, high-quality produce is to establish strong farm policies that have clear procedures to follow. Farm policies and procedures can serve as a framework for all business activities and help save time and money.
Additionally, like the foundation of a building, planning is the bedrock upon which your policies and procedures would stand. Get it right and you won’t have to go over the process again and again wasting time and money. So, in the end, a well planned farm your policies and procedures pays for itself.
4. Allows farmers adapt better to changes
Farmers face a variety of challenges as the world changes. One difficulty is that the best way to adapt to these changes is often not clear, and farmers don’t always have the time or resources to try new methods. But, even without expensive interventions or new technologies, a well-planned farm policy and strategy can make a big difference.
5. Makes it easy to meet WHS Compliance
Farm policies and procedures are the first steps to achieve WHS compliance. A farm policy is a document that outlines the procedures for a farm’s employees, which is required by law in Australia.
The farm policy outlines the standards that employees are expected to follow, and the procedures that the company has in place to enforce these standards. In addition to the farm policy, a farm procedure document is also required. This document outlines the procedures that are required to be performed on the farm to maintain compliance with the standards outlined in the farm policy.
Without adequate planning, you are likely going to miss out some key components in your farm’s policies and procedures. The result which would not only put the health and safety of your farm and workers at risk but leave you short of compliance laws leading to penalties, On the other hand, proper planning translates to effective policies and procedures that addresses all the requirements of WHS Act making meeting WHS compliance a breeze.
Like every farmer in Australia knows, the cost of production is constantly increasing. The prices of the inputs are growing, as well as the labor costs. And if you don’t plan your farm policies and procedures correctly, you’ll be adding costs of liabilities compliance penalties, absenteeism, loss of productivity etc. Low profit margins thus become inevitable. Well-planned farm policies, procedures, and responsible farm management practices can help farmers remain profitable and sustainable.
How to make sure you are planning your farm’s WHS policies and procedures well
Do you have a farm? Do you want to make sure you are planning your farm’s WHS policies and procedures well?
Here are key 3 things you should keep in mind:
- Your farm’s policies and procedures should at least cover accidents, emergencies, illness, injury or near miss.
- Farm policies and procedures should allow for optimum resource usage to attain the objectives of farm safety and farm business profit maximization.
- In every case, on-farm health and safety risk should be accounted for in your farm’s policies and procedures.