One worker is hospitalised each day in Australia due to a horse related injury, and for every worker hurt, another ten non-workers are injured.

It’s hard to believe, but in the last fourteen years 133 people in Australia have died and a significant amount has been paid out in workers compensation for horse-related injuries sustained at work.

This picture has led SafeWork NSW to develop a NSW code of practice for managing risks when new and inexperienced people interact with horses.

We are now calling for individuals and businesses to help shape horse-industry safety.

SafeWork NSW Acting Executive Director, Jodie Deakes, said new and inexperienced people are at a higher risk of injury in a variety of situations when interacting with horses.

“While 35 per cent of reported injuries result from falls from horses, 40 per cent are injuries that result from being struck by a horse, so the danger is present in activities other than just riding,” said Ms Deakes.

In addition, Ms Deakes says, an employer’s obligations are not limited only to workers.

“An employer or business owner also has work health and safety obligations towards customers and members of the public who enter their workplace.

“Think trail riding businesses, equestrian centres, or other businesses such as farms where workers or members of the public enter a workplace to transport a horse, deliver goods, tend to an injured animal, or fix a fence.

“Business owners therefore need to be able to identify hazards that pose a risk, whether that’s related to the skill of the person interacting with the horse, the horse itself, or the environment where the two come into contact.

“This code of practice aims to provide practical advice for Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBUs) on how to do that.”

SafeWork NSW is currently consulting with the public to find out how to improve guidance when it comes to risk management for new and inexperienced people around horses.

The code of practice will provide a basis to establish safe processes and ultimately to avoid tragic incidents.

We know there are many stakeholders from a wide range of businesses, that are particularly keen to improve safety standards so now is the time to have your say.

Provide feedback here or call 13 10 50 for more information.

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Farming, News and research, Workplace safety

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