Image of cattle yardsIn the Northern Territory (NT) beef cattle farming over the past five years has had some of the highest rates of workplace incidents. NT WorkSafe made it the focus of its Agricultural Campaign.

To support business, they have been visiting beef cattle farms across the Territory to:

  • explain the changes to work health and safety laws, and the important role of NT WorkSafe
  • improve incident reporting amongst cattle farming businesses
  • help farmers by:
    • identifying areas that need improvement
    • providing practical advice  on how to control their big risks, and
    • giving follow up support.

These visits are helping to build  more  positive relationships between farmers and NT Worksafe.

NT Cattlemen’s Association raised some concerns and apprehensions about a regulator visiting the properties. NT WorkSafe worked with the industry body representative so people were clear about the campaign purpose and what they would get out of it. This was an important part of the NT message—that they were there to provide practical advice  to businesses on how they could meet their legal obligations.

To make sure important health  and safety messages  were getting to the hard to reach rural regions, NT WorkSafe held information sessions in Katherine. NT worked with the Primary Industries Training Advisory Council  and delivered this training through their PISAFE program. Another example of this regulator working with industry training bodies  to ensure accurate and consistent safety messages  are delivered by groups cattle farmers trust.

This event  gave station managers, owners and other people from that  region a chance  to meet with NT WorkSafe representatives and learn more  about why  their  industry was a focus for NT WorkSafe.

The locations to be visited were identified in the planning process. So far, NT WorkSafe have visited and provided advice  to:

  • Manbulloo Station
  • Auvergne Station
  • Tipperary Station
  • Montejinni Station
  • Camfield Station
  • Eva Downs  Station
  • Anthony Lagoon Station
  • Kidman Springs  Station, and
  • Brunchilly Station.

It was great  to see many of these stations already had good risk management systems in place and were  keen to hear about practical controls that others were  using in these unique and challenging workplaces. Despite previous concerns, NT WorkSafe officers reported station owners and managers actually welcomed the opportunity to speak face-to-face with someone about work health and safety issues.

The NT WorkSafe Agricultural Campaign will keep going in 2015. For more information about this campaign, and about managing health  and safety risks on cattle stations, visit the NT WorkSafe website.

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