Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Taking responsibility for safety on farm

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Campaign brings a new attitude and a new language to health and safety.
As part of its ‘Half-Arsed Stops Here’ campaign, Safer Farms is running monthly toolbox meetings where farmers share safety tips that are working for them.
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A provocative new health and safety programme aims to find solutions on the farm, rather than in the office.

Half-Arsed Stops Here is the catchphrase of the Farm Without Harm initiative, led by Safer Farms.

It brings a new attitude and a new language to health and safety, Safer Farms chair Lindy Nelson told the Farmers Weekly In Focus podcast.

“Three years ago, during covid-19, we looked at the statistics, we looked at the success of Safer Farms and thought ‘You know what, we need to take the success of our members and extend that out to our farmers, everybody needs to be on this journey.’”

A new strategy was developed, built from the farm up.

“This is not about compliance, or other people creating rules for farmers. This is about us taking responsibility and coming together to find solutions and we honestly believe those solutions are out there. 

“Some of them are really sticky solutions to be fair, but if we come together, if we learn from one another, if we learn from some of our members, we’re a long way towards getting it right.

“It’s about thinking about the big risks on farm, identifying those and going, ‘Okay, how do we mitigate those risks?’ 

“It’s about the ability for us to fail safely. It’s about acknowledging that we’re human. 

“We have dogs on our bikes that suddenly jump off, we have an environment that is changing. So if something fails, how do we do it safely? 

“And so this is all new thinking. It’s not what we thought about before. 

Nelson said the concept of health and safety needs to reframed. 

“Because, honestly, it’s a tainted word. It’s a tainted brand. You get people immediately thinking that it’s about compliance. And while we’re not backing away from that, what we’re saying is, what we have done in the past has not worked. The statistics are as bad as ever so let’s own the problem. Let’s find solutions.” 

Nelson said rather than thinking about compliance, the aim is to have people thinking about doing good work.

“I think in order for us to have the image that we are the producer of world-class food, we actually have to do that without harming people. 

“You know, we pay attention to supply chains. To give an example, we pay attention to how Bangladeshi workers are treated for our clothing, okay? 

“It’s not going to be very long before people are going to be thinking about if people are harmed in the production of good quality milk, fibre, and meat.”

In Focus this week: Why half-arsed on-farm safety won’t cut it

This week Bryan talks to Safer Farms chair Lindy Nelson about the Half-Arsed Stops Here campaign.

Then, Richard McIntyre from Federated Farmers gives an update on the call for an inquiry into rural banking.

And senior reporter Neal Wallace wraps up two big stories – a new piece of research on methane and the pitches politicians made to farmers at the Rural Issues Debate.

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