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Trial will tackle attitudes and beliefs to save lives 12 Aug 2015

A new approach is being taken to reduce deaths and injuries in Australia’s primary industries, tackling attitudes and beliefs rather than relying on workers to memorise procedures.

The Primary Industries Health and Safety Partnership (PIHSP) is funding a trial project in the fishing industry, with the aim of extending it to on-shore industries if successful.
While there have been many safety improvements over recent years, the marine sector remains one of the most dangerous workplaces, losing more than 800 working weeks to injury for every 1,000 employees over the period 2008/9 to 2011-12 .

PIHSP R&D Advisory Panel Chair, Gordon Gregory, says similar approaches have been successfully employed in industries such as mining and offshore drilling.

“Many primary industries operate in inherently dangerous environments, often with a transient workforce. While there’s been a significant improvement over recent years, there are still too many people being killed and injured,” Mr Gregory said.

“We have to go beyond compliance and develop a culture where safe work practices are simply the ‘done thing’ and staff are motivated and committed to changing their behaviour.”

The PIHSP is partnering with NPF Industry Pty Ltd, the representative body for operators in the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF), with delivery by Sentis through a cognitive-based safety program to initiate this cultural shift – the “High Performing & Safe Teams” program. 

This program has been rolled out to 80 NPF crew members at six separate workshops in July, and their safety attitudes and actions will be monitored over the coming months. 

The success of the Sentis High Performing & Safe Teams Program for these crew members could be the catalyst for a change in the way farming, fishing and forestry industries embrace safety in the workplace.

The PIHSP is funded by the Research and Development Corporations for the meat processing, cotton, grains and livestock industries as well as the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. 

For more information visit www.rirdc.gov.au/PIHSP