The food industry is characterised by a highly mobile and youthful workforce engaged in a wide range of occupations including: growing, harvesting, picking and packing, processing, cooking, and serving.
This industry provides employment for people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and has a large number of part-time and casual workers. Much of the work is physically demanding, and requires specific skills training and instruction.
Some areas of the food industry are higher risk than others. The meat industry is one of the highest risk industries in South Australia. The hospitality industry experiences the fourth highest workers’ compensation claims costs of all industry sectors. Nevertheless, regardless of which sector you are in, you should be aware of your responsibilities, the responsibilities of your workers, your major risks, and what you can do to minimise them.
As a registered employer you are responsible for:
- Paying a levy to WorkCover Corporation by the due date
- Notifying WorkCover Corporation within 14 days of any amendment to registration details
- Returning the end-of-year reconciliation statement/s
- Notifying the appropriate claims agent when work-related injuries occur
- Sending all claims for compensation to your claims agent using the prescribed form
- Paying the first two weeks income maintenance to an injured worker unless the Buy Out Option applies
- Ensuring equipment is well guarded to avoid personal injury, with Standard Operating Procedures in place and clearly visible
- Providing necessary protective equipment
- Ensuring a healthy and safe work environment
Employees are responsible for:
All workers have responsibilities as well. They must:
- Use protective equipment you provide to protect their health and safety
- Follow reasonable instructions
- Ensure alcohol, drugs and other substances do not affect them so they endanger themselves or other employees
- Let you know if they see a problem or hazard
- Report work related injuries
- Follow procedures and instructions
- Participate in safe work programs
- Keep their workplace tidy
Who can help?
Getting your head around all of your responsibilities as an employer can be pretty daunting. WorkCover have developed a number of publications to assist in setting up a safe and responsible working environment. Business SA and SA Health are working together to deliver the Creating Healthy Workplaces program, which also includes grants for industry associations seeking to plan and implement programs for workplace health and wellbeing.