Farming: Safety basics

Make your farm a safe and healthy workplace.


Hazards and risks on your farm

Whether you are a producer or provide services on farms, there are common hazards and risks that come with working on and around farms.

Quad bikes can take your breath away

The first step is to know the hazards on your farm. Then you can assess the risks and create simple systems to manage them.

  • operating quadbikes, tractors and their attachments
  • handling large livestock, in particular cattle, sheep and horses
  • working in confined spaces like silos, milk vats and tanks
  • using chemicals (for example, cleaning agents, pesticides and herbicides)
  • working around electricity (for example, working near overhead powerlines and operating equipment like pumps near water)

How to make your farm safer

Our tools and handbooks can help you find common hazards, assess the risks and set up suitable controls for your farm.

Consult with employees and any contractors about the hazards around your farm and how the risks can be controlled.

Steps to control risks

Occupational health and safety regulations set out different steps for controlling specific areas of risk. For steps to control particular risks, check WorkSafe guidance on the relevant activity.

Below is an example of the steps to control some of the biggest risks in farming – farm vehicles and machinery. In OHS law, these are called plant.


  1. Start by removing the risks where you can. For example, change how a job is done.
  2. If you can't remove the risk, substitute, isolate or use engineering controls. You might need to use a combination. Good examples of these controls for quad bikes are using a safer vehicle instead for some tasks, or fitting a suitably designed and tested operator protective device to the quad bike.
  3. Set up administrative systems to manage the risks. For example, you may need working rules for using equipment or machinery, training on how to do tasks safely, and checklists for regular maintenance.
  4. Use personal protective equipment, like helmets, gloves or protective boots and clothes.
  5. Review your controls regularly to make sure they are working.

Your farm health and safety legal duties

As a farmer you may be self-employed, have employees, or manage and control a farm. No matter which, you have legal health and safety duties.

Examples of those duties

  • Ensure your farm is a safe working environment without risks to the health of your employees. Employees include contractors.
  • Make sure farm activities don't expose anyone to health and safety risks. That includes your family, other workers, farm visitors and contractors.
  • Ensure people can enter and leave the farm safely, and without risk to their health.
  • Report notifiable incidents to WorkSafe.


  • Take reasonable care for your health and safety in the workplace. You must also take reasonable care for the health and safety of others who may be affected what they do or don't do.
  • Cooperate with your employer about any action to comply with the OHS Act or Regulations.
  • Don't intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything at the workplace to support health, safety and welfare.