An app that records the activities of rural contractors is improving workplace health and safety and helping upskill new entrants to the industry, Rural Contractors NZ says.
The HanzonJobs app has wider benefits than recording just the work done on farm, its developer Richard Houston said.
He pointed to comments from Mabey Contracting about how the use of the app last season by RCNZ Trainee of the Year Jessica Bills had impressed WorkSafe during a visit.
“The work records include activities linked to improving or ensuring health and safety performance and these are really useful in assessments and audits.”
He said the software is not just limited to time spent in the operator’s seat. It records any agricultural-related job including maintenance and servicing of machinery, fencing, helping with calves or shearing.
“Some of those using the app over winter got into a bit of metal fabrication – that’s all captured along with greasing and diagnosing faults.”
Within rural contracting itself, raking remains by far the single biggest task recorded on the HanzonJobs app. Time in the workshop is second.
Houston said all of this is useful information for employers, who he regards as mentors to the trainees.
“At the end of the season we create reports that highlight the areas where they’ve gained experience. These demonstrate the time and energy in guiding the apprentices/trainees as well as the skills they’ve learnt.”
Rural Contractors NZ CEO Andrew Olsen said his organisation is pleased to have supported HanzonJobs to the point that it’s become the basis of assessing candidates for RCNZ’s Trainee Contractor of the Year, which is supported by the Ministry for Primary Industries.
“We are underway in our third season promoting the use of the app. It’s a brilliant tool both for trainees and our members. They get a ready record of what their trainees are doing and that can be the basis for feedback and encouragement as well as a whole range of other uses.”
He’s encouraging those RCNZ members who have not yet signed up themselves or new workers to do so.
“This remains a free tool with a range of very real benefits to hard-pressed rural contractors. For a few minutes a day by trainees, employers get a daily record of what they’ve been doing be it raking or repairing.”
This then provides the opportunity for mentoring the trainee and building skills.
“And anything that helps your health and safety performance is a real bonus,” Olsen said.