Chance for grape growers to prune safety hazards

Sunraysia grape growers are being urged to ensure they have safety covered this pruning season.


WorkSafe, Department of Health and the Labour Hire Authority are hosting an online information session on 10 June to help businesses ensure they are meeting their health and safety obligations, staying COVID-safe, supporting vulnerable workers and ensuring labour hire workers are treated fairly and provided through licensed labour hire providers.

Agriculture Victoria, Australian Table Grape Association and Victorian Farmers Federation representatives will also be on hand to provide support and answer any questions growers may have.

Subject to COVID-19 restrictions, a three-day inspection program will follow in the Robinvale area from 22 to 24 June to check businesses are operating safely.

WorkSafe Regional Operations Director Western Region Trevor Butler encouraged growers to attend the information session to ensure they were meeting their obligations.

"The information session is designed to help people understand their responsibilities and to provide advice on how they can make their workplaces safe," Mr Butler said.

"We hope growers will take the opportunity to review their business to identify any changes needed to ensure that anyone who comes into their workplace is not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

"What we know is that taking simple measures, which often cost little or nothing, can make an enormous difference when it comes to safety."

Labour Hire Licensing Commissioner Steve Dargavel said the Authority's focus would be on ensuring providers had COVIDSafe plans, as well as checking their licence status and conditions for labour hire workers.

"The horticulture industry is experiencing new challenges and we want to help ensure businesses in the Robinvale area can continue to operate safely, smoothly and fairly," Mr Dargavel said.

"We want to see compliance with existing laws because it prevents the exploitation of workers, creates fairness among employers and improves the reputation of horticulture and regional communities as safe and fair places to work."

The Robinvale inspection program follows joint-agency visits to orchards and packing sheds in Shepparton in February, where inspectors from the three agencies visited almost 40 properties.

The online information session will operate in 30-minute time slots from 3pm to 5pm.