WorkSafe NZ is calling on farmers and other rural businesses to treat health and safety as more than a compliance issue.
Kicking by animals causes many farmer claims against ACC. Safe dealing with stock and having good yards is important, Barclay says. “So is telling staff about the inherent dangers of dealing with stock”.
“There is an emphasis on quads, but [the key is] choosing the right vehicle for the job,” Barclay told Rural News. “For example, is towing the spray equipment suitably done by a quad? How about improving the conditions of tracks? Another issue is PTO’s on tractors.”
Barclay says safety polices can be explained verbally to staff, but writing them up so they are easily accessible to staff is best. A “ring binder of policies” will often just gather dust on a shelf.
“Far better to have a whiteboard in the shed where managers and staff can all contribute information; then it becomes a living document.”
This ‘living register’ concept can warn about damaged pipes or damaged equipment. It may also display a photograph of a problem.
A big part of Barclay’s job is talking to farmers to break down myths about health and safety, especially about WorkSafe. It aims to work with farmers to achieve sustainable changes in safety. Barclay enjoys working with farmers, putting them at ease about his role and blowing away the myth about prosecution.
The worst thing for farmers is getting a no-helmet warning notice and in the event of an accident a WorkSafe investigation team may be called in. But few incidents end up in court.
“The only paperwork they need is an accident register; best practice is to write down as much as possible. I advocate using a diary, perhaps just one sentence, but all this builds up a picture of what is happening on the farm.”
Barclay, who has spent all his working life in the primary sector, says all the farmers he meets want to stay safe. They may look crusty and hard, but underneath they don’t want accidents on their properties and are keen to do better.