In­no­va­tions to im­prove Aus­tralian farm safety

On­line safety train­ing now more ac­ces­si­ble

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Front Page - KIR­ILI LAMB kir­ili.lamb@ru­ral­

WHAT do you get when you cross a re­cent Farmer of the Year with the cur­rent Beef Achiever of the Year?

Likely, a huge amount of knowl­edge, drive and tal­ent go­ing into what­ever they come up with.

In this case, it’s been a com­mit­ment to de­vel­op­ing a first-of-its-kind safety tool for broad ap­pli­ca­tion across farm­ing sec­tors.

What be­gan life as a video-based on­line in­ter­ac­tive safety in­duc­tion pro­gram be­ing devel­oped for Pal­grove prop­er­ties soon gained the in­volve­ment of OBE Or­gan­ics and steered by the peo­ple leading the two com­pa­nies, re­spec­tively, Prue and David Bond­field and Da­lene Wray.

The out­come has been a broader, pay-per-use safety in­duc­tion plat­form that is suited to pro­duc­ers of all sizes, suit­able for use by em­ploy­ees, fam­ily farms, even po­ten­tially for vis­i­tors.

Pal­grove gen­eral man­ager Prue Bond­field said the re­sult and its po­ten­tial ben­e­fits for agri­cul­ture were sat­is­fy­ing.

“No pro­ducer wants their work­ers in­jured when they set off for the day,” she said.

“Some­times, those in­juries oc­cur be­cause em­ploy­ers as­sume that all staff un­der­stand the ba­sics of work­ing safely on the land. It’s an as­sump­tion we should never make.

“Prior to de­vel­op­ing the on­line in­duc­tion for our own busi­ness, Pal­grove had spent a lot of time try­ing to work out a bet­ter sys­tem for mak­ing sure that all em­ploy­ees were pro­vided with the same level of knowl­edge of work­place safety com­ing on to our prop­er­ties.

“The op­por­tu­nity to share Pal­grove’s so­lu­tion with the in­dus­try will hope­fully pro­vide a place for oth­ers to start the con­ver­sa­tion about farm safety with their staff.”

OBE Or­gan­ics chief ex­ec­u­tive Da­lene Wray has es­tab­lished a clear rep­u­ta­tion as an in­dus­try leader with a strong com­mit­ment to eth­i­cal pro­cesses, so it is un­sur­pris­ing that she should want to see this tool be­come broadly used.

That com­mit­ment comes from a long con­nec­tion to the coun­try.

“My fam­ily are cat­tle pro­duc­ers from Western Queens­land and my fa­ther was one of the founders of OBE Or­gan­ics back in about 1994 – David Brook, from Birdsville,” Ms Wray said.

“I’ve stayed con­nected to coun­try and I’ve been with OBE over a decade now. As

I’ve worked up through the ranks at OBE, I have be­come more aware that you have obli­ga­tions around work­place health and safety.

“Our fam­ily op­er­ates prop­er­ties in some very re­mote parts of Aus­tralia and they hire many staff and have lim­ited ac­cess to pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment and re­sources way out where they op­er­ate.

“I see these types of tools as ben­e­fi­cial for those types of op­er­a­tors, that can’t come to town for train­ing and there’s no train­ing of­fered in that part of the world. This is one way we can cover that gap.”

Ms Wray sees there is a range of mea­sures that need con­sid­er­a­tion around build­ing a stronger safety cul­ture in agri­cul­ture.

“I think many things that hap­pen from a WHS point of

view are pre­ventable and it’s quite nu­anced, the so­lu­tions that are needed to solve this problem – we can have leg­is­la­tion, we can have train­ing and we can have both and peo­ple are still go­ing to get in­jured and die in the work­place and in agri­cul­ture in Aus­tralia,” she said.

“I think we are go­ing to need to con­tinue cham­pi­oning so­lu­tions like these.

“We need to con­tinue to chal­lenge in­dus­try to come up with more so­lu­tions, bet­ter so­lu­tions and im­prove the so­lu­tions we’ve al­ready got.

“This is a tool that didn’t ex­ist. I think it’s an im­por­tant step in the right di­rec­tion.”

This story is the third in a c four-part se­ries spon­sored by the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment Of­fice of In­dus­trial Re­la­tions.


START­ING POINT: Prue and David Bond­field, of Pal­grove, see us­ing an in­duc­tion process as a good start­ing point for safety on farms.

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