Falls from height are one of leading causes of injury in the New Zealand wine industry, casting a shadow over an otherwise thriving sector. This sobering statistic underscores the critical need for robust safety measures in our picturesque vineyards. From pruning to harvesting, countless tasks require working above ground, demanding rigorous adherence to regulations, meticulous equipment inspection, and ongoing training for winery staff.
The Landscape of Risk:
- Falls: The leading cause of injuries in the industry, falls from ladders, platforms, or even uneven terrain can have devastating consequences.
- Falling objects: Tools, branches, and even grapes themselves can pose hazards from above.
- Weather: Strong winds, rain, and even scorching sun can compromise balance and grip.
Navigating the Regulatory Terrain:
WorkSafe New Zealand: The governing body enforces strict regulations, like the Adventure Activities (Land) Regulations 2016 and the Work at Height Code of Practice 2020. These mandate risk assessments, safe work practices, and appropriate equipment use.
Find out more on WorkSafe here.
- Understanding your responsibilities: Employers must provide training, competent supervision, and ensure proper equipment, while employees must follow safety procedures and report any concerns.
Equipping for Success:
- Harness and Fall Arrest Systems: The cornerstone of working at height safety, these systems must be certified, regularly inspected, and used correctly. Choosing the right system for the specific task and terrain is crucial.
- Ladders and Elevated Work Platforms: Stable, well-maintained equipment is essential. Understanding ladder angles, platform capacities, and fall prevention measures is key.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Gloves, helmets, and sturdy footwear provide additional protection against falling objects and slips.
- Browse our range of height safety equipment.
Building a Culture of Safety:
- Training and Competence: Invest in comprehensive training that covers regulations, equipment use, rescue procedures, and risk assessment. Regularly refresh knowledge and skills.
- Open Communication: Encourage reporting of unsafe practices and hazards. Foster a culture where safety concerns are addressed promptly and seriously.
- Continuous Improvement: Regularly review safety procedures, incident reports, and near misses to identify areas for improvement and adapt practices accordingly.
By prioritizing working at height safety, NZ wineries can safeguard their most valuable asset - their people. A commitment to robust regulations, proper equipment, and a culture of safety ensures not just a decent harvest, but a healthy and happy workforce.
Get in touch with the NZAccess team to discuss your winery projects and height safety needs.