With on-farm safety being a real challenge, especially for employers, the Smart HS approach might offer some answers.
Developed by Donna Clarke and Graham Foote, the online resource delivers structured training delivered in a straightforward manner with common sense as a key driving force.
Both from a rural and corporate background, the couple now operate a kiwifruit orchard in the Bay of Plenty. Graham, who also worked as a dairy farmer, put his practical skills to good use in the training sector. This included working with Farmsafe, Drive Zone and Ag Challenge, training operators to NZQA standards for the use of quads, side-by-sides, tractors and 4WD vehicles. He also did training for Fonterra, NorthPower, the Department of Corrections and of course many farmers and growers.
Smart HS offers a series of online training courses, covering the likes of motorbikes, quads, side by sides and tractors.
Each course is broken into modules. For example, with side by sides, the course covers the legal requirements and regulations, safety and maintenance, machine controls, driving tips, load dynamics and recovering from awkward situations.
As the candidate moves through each of the modules – a process that can be monitored by the employer – they receive current, straightforward information, supported by video content that demonstrates the likely outcomes if good health and safety practice is not applied.
In the case of farm tractors, the modules consist of the legalities, safety and maintenance, controls, safe towing, safe use of 3-point linkage and PTO driven implements, managing tractor dynamics and common mishaps. Once again, the information is practical, well thought out and clearly demonstrates Foote’s experience gained over many years.
Moving on from the study modules, the owner or operators can move onto practical modules, putting the theory into practice. Indeed, should farm owners or managers wish to upskill, they can also undertake courses to become a Smart HS assessor. This helps them to understand a trainees’ ability to understand, make behavioural changes and ultimately benefit from the content.
The online information is also available to use as refresher training for existing employees, so with a typical theory and practical module costing around $270, it seems a small price to pay for sound, practical advice that meets the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act of 2015.