The farm as a workplace – environment
The term environment in an agricultural or farm setting makes people think in terms of either the layout of the land, or the type of practices that are used on a farm that can range from organic farming through to a farm that uses all types of pesticide that it can. The time environment makes people think of an eco-friendly system that is beneficial to the earth beneath it.
Whilst all this can be true to a farm, the time environmental factors relate much more to the external and internal environment that characterises the nature of the farm. Perhaps more than any other business if farm is subject to the weather.
The weather characterises what can and cannot be done at any particular time of year on a farm, but also determines that work, farm must be carried out irrespective of what the work is. Many farms situated in areas that experience extremes of weather, and have to adapt and run themselves accordingly.
Another issue concerning a farm is that there is an overlap in terms of boundaries, both physical and emotional between the farm as a workplace and the farm as a place where the family live. This is not unique to farms and often occurs in retail or other types of businesses.
Where it matters perhaps more narrowly is that people who live on a farm are pretty much on call at all times bail night if the situation warrants it. This could be done to weather or other factors to do with animals on the farm. As long as people who live on the farm recognise there is no clear boundary they can adapt to it but it does make it a more difficult working environment to be in.
People who work on a farm are possibly by nature much more self-sufficient than other people. The nature of most farms means they are quite isolated geographically, and are not easy to get to by any medical or emergency services if needed.
That may sound a bit dramatic, but the nature of work, farm is often quite hazardous and people who were, farm need to know how to deal with any emergency that arises as best they can. This means that emergency services may take a considerable time to reach a farm, and workers and residents of the farm need to be aware of that and plan accordingly.
People who work on a farm, often using kubota tractors, can feel quite isolated, both physically and emotionally.
The nature of work means that people will be on their own quite a considerable period of time during the day or night, with little backup or support from other workers. The sense of isolation can potentially be a problem but can be planned for, if thought through and adjusted accordingly.
Any farm is going to have a number of environmental hazards such as noise, vibration, lighting etc which are a byproduct either of the environment or the work that is carried out on a farm.
The issue from a health and safety perspective is that there is unlikely to be any monitoring or regulation of these hazards in the way that they would be in most other types of businesses take place in either an office or industrial setting.
This means that people who work or who run the farm need to be especially aware of these at hazards, and make sure that both themselves and their co-workers are protected accordingly as best as possible.
Equally there will be no or very little control over personal hygiene of workers on the farm, which can actually be quite a sensitive issue and is down to the individual and their own sense of personal responsibility. There is unlikely to be any type of statutory or legal requirement on personal care or hygiene of workers in the way that they would be in other industries.