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Woolshed safety targeted

Safety in the woolshed is the focus of a series of videos involving Wairarapa farmers. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES


Wairarapa farmers feature in a series of videos being rolled out around the country for farmers and shearers, to reduce injuries in and around the woolshed.

Tahi Ngatahi is an online training programme which aims to improve safety and performance in the wool growing and wool harvesting industry.

It’s a collaboration between Federated Farmers and the New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association, and has the backing of government agencies.

The Accident Compensation Corporation has provided $1 million over three years for programme development, with WorkSafe also a partner.

The videos feature respected industry shearers and farmers, including Wairarapa farmers William Beetham, Federated Farmers provincial president, and William Falloon.

The farmers explain the importance of having good health and safety practices, maintaining the shearing shed and preparing the sheep well for shearing.

Beetham is passionate about building good processes in to his business and supports the new programme.

“The first thing is recognising that you have got to make a start with health and safety.”

“It is actually really easy and it makes things run more efficiently. Most farmers would be surprised just how much better off your business would be just spending a little bit of time getting those systems in place.”

Falloon says his top priority is to have an independent person inspect and maintain his woolshed annually.

“It’s really important because the last thing you need is a machine breaking down in the middle of shearing.”

In 2017, there were 755 work-related injuries in wool harvesting, resulting in 9300 working days lost to the industry, according to ACC weekly compensation data.

The same year there were 4700 work-related injuries in wool growing, resulting in 35,000 days lost to the industry.

Tahi Ngatahi project manager Trish Ryan says the videos teach everyone involved in the industry about their role in creating a safe workplace.

“Tahi Ngatahi means one, together and we believe we can prevent injuries by helping the whole team understand each other’s roles in and around the shed.

“It’s a great resource for everyone in the industry, including farmers and staff who use a shearing contractor or have an open shed, or do some shearing or crutching over the year. While a lot can shear, they may be able to improve their approach so they don’t injure themselves.’’

Shearing contractors can show farmers that they and their staff are Tahi Ngatahi certified, while farmers can also complete the digital woolshed ‘Warrant of Fitness’ to ensure their shed is compliant.

See fedfarm.org.nz or nzshearing.co.nz for more details.

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