PRO­FILE: TAK­ING FIRST AID TO THE PAD­DOCK

Hus­band’s ac­ci­dent prompts am­bas­sador to spread vi­tal mes­sage

Central and North Burnett Times - - RURAL WEEKLY - Lara Web­ster lara.web­ster@gympi­etimes.com

CINDY HARTWIG is an am­bas­sador for safety and she knows all too well the heartache of loss on the land.

Her jour­ney from a farmer’s wife to a safety ad­vo­cate had a sad be­gin­ning.

“My hus­band was killed in a farm ac­ci­dent 20 years ago,” Ms Hartwig said.

“It was then I de­cided I would help save lives.

“I don’t want an­other fam­ily to go what we went through.”

Ms Hartwig be­gan to travel, speak­ing at con­fer­ences on the ef­fects a fa­tal­ity or farm ac­ci­dent can have on people.

She worked as a reg­is­tered nurse be­fore her hus­band’s ac­ci­dent, so her med­i­cal back­ground served her well.

It was not too long be­fore she was ap­proached by the Na­tional Heart Foun­da­tion to teach CPR and Ms Hartwig opened Hart­beat Train­ing in Gympie. For many years she worked out of her own home, be­fore mov­ing the train­ing cen­tre into town, but she misses the farm.

“It was a good de­ci­sion but busi­ness is hard yakka. But it does al­low me to help people and use my heart,” she said.

For the past 15 years, Ms Hartwig has been a busy woman.

She runs Hart­beat Train­ing on her own, teach­ing CPR and first aid train­ing, trav­el­ling dirt roads and high­ways to com­mu­ni­ties through­out Queens­land.

She is called to schools to equip chil­dren with im­por­tant safety skills and she also of­fers aged care train­ing and chemical ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

And Ms Hartwig’s farm safety train­ing places an em­pha­sis on un­der­stand­ing oc­cu­pa­tional health and safety laws.

It is past ex­pe­ri­ence which drives Ms Hartwig, es­pe­cially in the agri­cul­ture sec­tor.

She said ru­ral oc­cu­pa­tions faced some of the great­est risks.

“Many farm­ers don’t think it will hap­pen to them and we didn’t think it would hap­pen to us,” Ms Hartwig said.

“The ma­jor­ity of farm­ers are not as young as they once were and as we age, we re­act slower.

“We won’t stop ac­ci­dents but it’s about chang­ing a cul­ture. The ‘she’ll be right cul­ture’ has to change.”

Farm ac­ci­dents and fa­tal­i­ties not only cause

I don’t want an­other fam­ily to go what we went through.

CINDY HARTWIG

suf­fer­ing, but there is ex­tra fi­nan­cial bur­den, such as a loss of pro­duc­tion pay­ment for med­i­cal treat­ment, wages for re­place­ment work­ers, high work­ers’ com­pen­sa­tion pre­mi­ums and pos­si­ble lit­i­ga­tion costs.

“The ob­jec­tives of the train­ing course are to as­sist farm­ers to in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity through the de­vel­op­ment of knowl­edge and prac­ti­cal skills in man­ag­ing risks of in­jury and ill­ness as­so­ci­ated with farm life and work,” she said.

And she has mes­sage for ev­ery­one; whether you are a nurse, a farmer or a gar­dener.

“Take time, as hard as it is you need to, so you can make sure you are work­ing safely,” Ms Hartwig said.

PHOTO: RENEE PILCHER

IM­POR­TANT JOB: Cindy Hartwig, of Hart­beat Train­ing, is pas­sion­ate about help­ing farm­ers work safely.

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