In 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.