Workshop safety

Workshops are essential on a farm but they need to be safe places to work. Around 15.1% of agricultural fatalities involved powered tools, equipment and appliances in 2010 to 2014 combined. Between 2015–2019 (Australia-wide), 3% of workplace fatalities occurred due to contact with electricity.  This is six deaths (on average) each year. It is essential to identify any potential hazards and remove the risk. Making the workshop and job as safe as possible can minimise or eliminate the potential for injury or fatality and be aware of which equipment involves greater risk than others. For example portable equipment is particularly vulnerable due to fraying leads and extension cords. Consider non slip flooring to prevent slips.

Having personal protective equipment (PPE) available to wear is best practice.

There are many potential hazards in a workshop:

  • Poor workshop layout and design
  • Cluttered walkways leading to slips, trips and falls.
  • Electrical power leads
  • Welding and grinding equipment
  • Power tools – checking guards and cords
  • Hoists used to work on farm vehicles
  • Poor lighting – leading to accidents
  • Battery charging
  • Tyre changing

Workshops should be kept tidy and clean to prevent slips, trips, falls and other accidents. Regular inspecting and testing of equipment should be done. For more information on farm workshop safety visit Farm Safe Australia.

Fast facts:

  • Farm workshops need to be safe work areas.
  • Use personal protective equipment including hearing and respiratory protection
  • Look at the overall layout of the workshop and see if you can make it safer.
  • Look for potential hazards and use and put strategies in place to minimise or eliminate risk of injury or fatality.
  • Give safety induction and training to workers and supervise unskilled workers.
  • Keep children and visitors out of the workshop at all times.

References used for this topic

More information:

Safework Australia
Work related injuries and fatalities on Australian Farms

Farmsafe Australia
Farm workshop safety guide

National Ag Safety Database (US)
Workshop safety

Department of Commerce (WA)
Agricultural safety and health checklist

Research & reviews:

Head and Face Medicine
Penetrating facial injury from angle grinder use: management and prevention [PDF 1.4mb]