Windfarm venture provides farm safety lessons

Windfarm venture provides farm safety lessons

Safe Hands
Safe and Sound: Jade and Blair Wenham safely enjoying a beer at the end of the day. They say coming home to family is the most important thing.

Safe and Sound: Jade and Blair Wenham safely enjoying a beer at the end of the day. They say coming home to family is the most important thing.

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Agriculture has plenty to learn from the resource sector when it comes to workplace health and safety.

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Becoming wind turbine hosts for the AGL Coopers Gap Windfarm has given one young farming couple a different perspective on farm safety.

Jade and Blair Wenham work closely with AGL staff at their Cooranga North property, in southern Queensland, and say the experience is providing them with plenty of lessons about how to approach safety.

"Working with AGL has not only allowed us to diversify our operations and provide passive income but we have also been exposed to many different things by observing how AGL operates," Jade Wenham said.

"One area AGL are uncompromising about is safety and to see their practices in action allows us to be more mindful about our own safety on the farm."

"Agriculture, as an industry, has more deaths than any other industry, so it is imperative we step up and take notes from companies, like AGL, who also operate in potentially dangerous workplaces."

Mr Wenham said machinery accidents and even deaths were all too common in agriculture and he said many accidents could be avoided if farms took a more mindful approach to safety issues.

"I make sure all our gear is in good working order and I take some time to pause and look at all the risks on the farm and think about how to manage them," he said.

"It sounds easy, like signs for visitors and inductions, but simple measures can save lives.

'Making sure the keys are taken out of your bike or tractor; or ensuring power to a PTO is off before doing work is common sense but many of us become complacent and do not take simple precautions.

"We want to be around for a long time and we are grateful AGL takes safety seriously because if one life is lost at work, whether it be at the windfarm or on our farm, it will be one life too many."

In nearby Wallumbilla, AGL operations superintendent, James Dean, makes safety paramount to his daily activities.

"I start the day and finish the day with safety moments," he said. "I think about safety in every action I take, from putting on a seatbelt to making sure all of my team are in proper safety gear.

Safe culture: Jade and his dad Neville working on-farm.

Safe culture: Jade and his dad Neville working on-farm.

"And for me, the motivation is simple - I want to come home to my family at night and I want my team to be safe for their families, too."

James lives in Roma with his wife, Kirsty and his 10-year-old son Declan. James is active in his community and cares about their safety, too.

"I incorporate safety messages with our landowners, especially around right of way signs and where our high pressure pipelines are," he said. "It would be devastating if someone in our community hit one of those pipelines while carrying out their farm duties, like fencing or tractor work.

"I encourage everyone to not be complacent about signage, take the time to read the right of way signs, look at the sticker on your PTO or read the operating manual on your new quad bike.

"Complacency is a killer in all industries when it comes to signage."

Danger Signs: AGL's James Dean talks signage with Dan Raschle.

Danger Signs: AGL's James Dean talks signage with Dan Raschle.

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