Guide on how to be healthy and safe in horticulture

Keeping everyone safe on orchards is about more than having the appropriate paperwork, says Al McCone, WorkSafe sector lead for agriculture.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 all businesses have a responsibility to keep workers healthy and safe.

“What this takes is some underlying health and safety planning and management as part of your everyday operation. It’s not just about paperwork; it’s about everyday good business practice,” says Al.

The key is in three simple actions: 

  •   •  identify the risks

  •   •  work out how to eliminate them (or if they can’t be eliminated, managed)

  •   •  then make sure everyone in the workplace understands both risks and management. 

“Everyone includes contractors. There are specific requirements when other businesses are working on your property – you need to make sure you are aware of each other’s risks and are jointly managing these.

“There are some real basics you need to get right, like making sure machinery and vehicles are fit for purpose and safe to use, or making sure that people are competent to safely do the tasks they are doing. 

“In addition, you need to pay real attention to the things that can cause fatalities and serious injuries. For these ‘critical’ risks, you need to work out how to separate the person from the risk.”  

WorkSafe New Zealand and Horticulture NZ have published a horticulture-specific guide called ‘Keep Safe, Keep Growing: How to be Healthy and Safe in Horticulture’ to help you.

The guide will help you work out the best way for you to identify, manage and communicate health and safety risks to family and workers and what part other people on-farm should play in risk management.

“Health and safety doesn’t just happen. It needs a conscious decision to make a healthy and safe workplace. ” says Al.


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