A farm emergency plan cares for the safety of everyone on farm, from employees to family members. It also takes into account animals, crops, buildings and machinery depending on the emergency. While it is good practice to prepare for an emergency, it is also a legal requirement within your state’s work health and safety laws to have a plan in place.
Employers have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of everyone on their farm and are responsible for ensuring everyone is briefed on these procedures.
To prepare your emergency plan you should consider:
- risks specific to your property based on industry and location
- home building preparedness
- farm building preparedness
- animal safety
- evacuation kit
- first aid/medical emergencies
- personal safety and communication.
In times of emergency it is very easy to forget plans and procedures, even with prior briefings. This is when it is important to have your plan available for easy access. A basic template would include contact details, farm directions and maps, first aid kit locations, off-farm contacts, and procedures in place for various emergencies. In addition to having a plan in place, everyone on the farm should be aware of what to do in an emergency, where to access the emergency plan and first aid kit locations.
Among the emergency types you could plan for are:
- chemical spill or exposure
- animal and plant disease
- extreme storm
- First aid emergency (e.g. snake or spider bite, injuries, illness, heart attack)
If an emergency situation does occur, it is important to ensure you know your responsibilities when it comes to reporting these incidents for WorkCover purposes. Failure to do so can open employers up to prosecution. Planning ahead, no matter how unlikely an emergency scenario might seem, can ensure the safety of your employees and family in a high stress situation.