FIGHTING FARMER FATIGUE
Updated: Mar 21
Workplace fatigue is a serious issue and can lead to workplace incidents or the development of psychological injury. Employed farmers who have sustained a physical or psychological injury caused by fatigue may be entitled to workers compensation.
The agricultural, forestry and fishing industry has some of the highest rates of workplace injury in the Australian workforce, due to the number of hazardous tasks workers complete on a daily basis. Common hazards include use of plant machinery, animal handling and physical labour. One hazard that is not frequently brought to consideration, however, is that of fatigue.
Fatigue, as stated by Safe Work Australia, is “more than feeling tired and drowsy.” It is a state of mental or physical exhaustion (or a combination of the two) that can impact the efficiency of day-to-day tasks. In a work context, fatigue is likely to reduce one’s ability to work safely.
Farmers in particular are at a higher risk of the effects of fatigue as they work closely with machinery (quad bikes, tractors etc) and animals- tasks that require full attention and alertness in order to minimise potential accidents.
And on the scale of long-term health impacts, fatigue could be the catalyst for heart issues, high blood pressure, anxiety or depression.
Like any safe work procedures and risk reduction strategies, managing fatigue comes down to implementing safe work methods in the workplace. As an employee, make sure your employer is enforcing correct and adequate break times and working hours. If you have any concerns or have noticed early signs of fatigue, make this known to your employer as soon as possible.
Can you claim compensation for a fatigue-related physical or psychological injury?
If you’ve sustained a physical injury at work or on your way to or from work due to unmanaged fatigue, you could be entitled to workers compensation.
Likewise, if you have suffered ongoing fatigue as a result of work- aiding in the development of a psychological injury that requires treatment and leads to loss of work- you could also be eligible for workers compensation.
Of course, each case will vary. For a more comprehensive understanding of what you can and cannot claim given your individual circumstances, it is important to seek advice from a Personal Injury Lawyer.
It’s advised for this to be done as soon as you are able, as there is a six-month time limit in which to bring a Worker’s Compensation claim.
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