Installing orchard structures

This Safety Alert highlights the danger of using wire guide ropes to support canopies and netting systems in traffic routes of orchards.



A worker was killed, while spraying pesticide, when the tractor he was operating came into contact with wire guide ropes restraining an overhead canopy. The canopy was erected to protect fruit trees from weather damage.

Wire guide ropes that intersect or overpass a travel route (especially in-between rows of fruit trees) regularly used by powered mobile plant, can create a hazard and may expose workers to a risk of serious injury.

Control measures

  • Ensure orchard structures, such as netting systems and canopies, are designed to eliminate the need for wire ropes in traffic routes.
  • Review the location of existing wires around horticultural crops to ensure workers are not exposed to health and safety risks. If a wire poses a risk to health and safety, consider redesigning/repositioning the canopy structure.
  • Ensure wire ropes are relocated outside traffic routes. Where this is not reasonable practicable, ensure wire guide ropes are highly visible. For example, cover in brightly coloured tubular plastic or wooden strips.
  • Designate areas where wire ropes are installed as traffic exclusion zones and identify traffic safety zones.
  • Provide workers with information and training about exclusion and traffic safety zones and traffic management procedures.