Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and WA Shearing Industry Association (WASIA) have launched the newly developed SafeSheds, The Shearing Shed Safety Program.
AWI's General Manager, Woolgrower Services Stephen Feighan, said this an important program for woolgrowers.
"The shearing industry is one of the most physically demanding occupations out there," Mr Feighan said.
"As an industry we need to do as much as is possible to reduce the risk of injuries and accidents occurring in shearing sheds as well as provide the best working conditions possible.
"Not only will this go a long way to increase entry, retention and longevity of staff, it will also improve industry productivity and profitability."
WASIA President, Darren Spencer, highlighted that shearing is a high-risk occupation.
"SafeSheds will assist in improving conditions for those working in shearing sheds and improve compliance with modern workplace standards to reduce risk and injuries and to reduce insurance and worker's compensation claims," Mr Spencer said.
"As an industry we need to ensure we are doing everything to reduce the likelihood of injuries and accidents occurring in our shearing sheds and increase our ability to attract and retain staff."
SafeSheds, The Shearing Shed Safety Program is a new best practice guide and assessment resource which has been developed with input from right across the industry. It aims to:
- Provide employers with an understanding of their duty-of-care obligations
- Provide a best practice guide, checklists and a handy mobile app to assist woolgrowers shearing contractors and shed workers to assess their current shearing shed working conditions, environment and equipment
- Allow woolgrowers to create an improvement program to improve and comply with modern workplace standards
- Make the workplace safer for all participants with health and safety as priorities for the wool harvesting industry by identifying and rectify safety hazards and providing options to manage risks and conditions in the shearing shed.
The new program will be rolled out with the support of global technology company SafetyCulture and its flagship workplace safety inspection app iAuditor.
The guide and self-assessment tools have been developed to provide woolgrowers and shed staff with a better understanding of the risks and options to mitigate those risks.
By planning and documenting the improvements and steps to control risk, woolgrowers will be able to provide direct evidence of efforts in managing safety as required by relevant State Workplace Health and Safety Legislation.
The Program is also an industry collaboration, harnessing the support of industry with WoolProducers Australia, Pastoralists and Graziers WA, WA Farmers' Federation and Shearing
Contractors' Association of Australia. Chairman of the PGA(WA) Livestock Committee Chris Patmore said the PGA encourages all farmers to get on-board with this program.
"Industry needs to reduce its lost time injury rate if it wants to put downward pressure on workers compensation insurance premiums," Mr Patmore said.
CEO of WoolProducers Australia, Jo Hall agreed, saying the program is a wonderful industry-led initiative aimed at making the wool harvesting workplace safer for all participants.
"Workplace, health and safety is key priority for WoolProducers Australia and the wider wool industry and the SafeSheds program will target one of the most exposed areas in our industry - shearing safety," Ms Hall said.
AWI and WASIA have partnered with mobile inspection tool, iAuditor by SafetyCulture to also provide the SafeSheds checklists in a mobile, digital, interactive format.
The SafeSheds iAuditor tool allows woolgrowers and shearing contractors to self-assess their wool harvesting workplace and work together to identify and rectify safety hazards from their mobile device.
The app allows you to add photos; create tasks and record actions based on improvements needed; record and document the assessment results with date and time stamps; share reports and track changes over time.
iAuditor also enables the shearing team to make real time incident reporting. Woolgrowers and shearing contractors can use the app for multiple sheds and properties and provide access to employees or shearing teams to record issues. It all works offline, even if you are in a location with poor or no mobile reception.
SafetyCulture's CEO Luke Anear said it's a great to be able to contribute via the Shearing Shed Safety Program. "We're so pleased to be partnering with AWI and WASIA on this great initiative which will help keep our great Australian wool industry thriving," Mr Anear said.
The mobile inspection tool is free to download and use. Growers and contractors can subscribe to the service from www.safetyculture.com/safesheds/
The SafeSheds best practice guide and safety checklists are also available in PDF format from the AWI website at www.wool.com/safe-sheds or you can order hard copies via the AWI Helpline 1800 070 099.