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Be safe for your loved ones 18 Nov 2014

Working safely is not about fluorescent shirts and steel capped boots. It’s about coming home at the end of the day; making sure that you’re there to see your children’s birthdays and major milestones.

This is one of the main messages to come out of a series of workshops over the past 12 months as part of research into the barriers to adoption of workplace health and safety (WHS) practices in Australia’s primary industries.

The project is being funded by the Primary Industries Health & Safety Partnership (PIHSP) and run by Associate Professor Richard Franklin of James Cook University.

“The mindset needs to be that it’s not just about personal workplace health and safety, it’s about being safe for the sake of your loved ones,” Associate Professor Franklin said.

“Attitude is one of the big barriers to adoption we’ve been hearing about. Influencing staff to believe that safety is important. That there is something you can do about it. You can make a difference in your workplace by implementing ‘best practice’ health and safety.

“Some of the others include cost, resources and time.”

The most recent workshop drew a crowd of about 80 participants at the 2014 Farmsafe Australia conference in Launceston and enabled a lively discussion by producers and industry representatives about what they deemed the main barriers to adopting WHS.

Associate Professor Franklin said there needs to be a significant change in the way the message is communicated to industry representatives.

“It’s up to us as facilitators to change the way the message is portrayed,” he said.

A report on the overall findings from the focus groups is due to be finalised early next year, and will also include recommendations on ways to overcome those barriers.  

The Partnership is funded by the Research and Development Corporations for the meat processing, cotton, grains, fishing and livestock industries as well as the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. More information is available at www.rirdc.gov.au/PIHSP.

A video from the Farmsafe conference workshop can be found at https://www.youtube.com/RIRDC