WorkSafe Victoria and Department of Health and Labour Hire Authority inspectors recently visited more than 40 Sunraysia grape growers to help businesses address safety hazards during the busy pruning season.
The three-day inspection program in the Robinvale area was designed to ensure growers were complying with occupational health and safety regulations, staying COVID-safe and supporting vulnerable workers.
WorkSafe inspectors issued 28 improvement notices to duty holders at eight of the 27 properties they inspected.
Among the most common safety issues were improper guarding on tractor power take-offs and other machinery; a lack of rollover protection and maintenance on quad bikes; and inadequate labelling and storage of chemicals.
“Many of the improvements required were relatively small changes that would result in big safety improvements,” said WorkSafe Victoria regional operations director western region Trevor Butler.
Department of Health inspectors visited 11 properties as part of the joint agency program, issuing four improvement notices.
Labour hire licensing commissioner Steve Dargavel said the authority visited 21 properties with a focus on education, checking providers had COVIDSafe plans and looking at their licence status and conditions for labour-hire workers.
“By working with growers and labour-hire providers to ensure they are meeting their obligations, we are helping to ensure this region is a safe and fair place to work,” Dargavel said.
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.