Harm Hot Spots

Our research identified harm hot spots, or areas of pressure across the horticulture system where risk factors interact.

These points provide an indication of where interventions may be the most effective at preventing harm from occurring.

The tree shows a summary of the consistent harm hotspots identified across crop types and sites visited during the research project.

tree graphic

Harm Hotspot list

  • Lack of horticulture-specific guidance and OHS material (including traffic management and site design)
  • Management focuses on the severe harm rather than the “little and oftens”
  • Limited guidance material on harm prevention (e.g. stretching)

  • Peak season is fast paced and high pressure
  • Efficiency financially rewarded
  • Managers experiencing high-stress year round
  • Not speaking up early about or reporting injuries

  • Negative portrayal of sector in media
  • Work seen as physical and boring for perceived low pay
  • Workers don’t stay long in jobs they aren’t matched to
  • Not enough local staff available and willing

  • Limited mental health support services available for staff
  • Supply chain congestion and stress
  • Staffing shortages due to illness, isolation and restricted entry

  • Pressure on picking before weather events
  • Working in extreme or dangerous conditions
  • Requires management focus on urgent responses, taking away from other tasks

  • PPE not always fit for purpose
  • Varied and inconsistent use of PPE
  • Ongoing use of less optimal equipment due to financial barriers for upgrading (i.e. platforms)

  • Managers required to undertake pastoral care
  • High turnover leads to inexperienced staff
  • Cost of living and housing affordability
  • Burden of compliance