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Farm Safety Week

Project Officer Glen Steven in Albany – Photo Jesse Collins

 

At Greening Australia, safety at work is of paramount importance. Our absolute objective is that ‘everyone arrives home safely everyday’.

The nature of our work means that staff, contractors or volunteers are often working out in rural or remote locations, on farms and on nature reserves, and accountable for their own and each other’s safety. As it’s Farm Safety Week, we wanted to shine the light on how having safety, health and wellbeing as a number one priority translates into our everyday, on-ground work.

 

Follow the golden rules

To ensure everyone arrives home safely everyday, we operate under these seven golden safety rules:

  1. Training and Competency: Only undertake activities for which you are trained, competent and authorised to do
  2. Fit for Work: Always turn up being fit for work
  3. Safe Job Planning: Before you start a job, take five minutes to think about all the risks and implement all controls identified in the risk assessment
  4. Personal Protective Equipment: Always wear the required PPE for the task
  5. Road Safety: Always plan your trip, inspect your vehicle and drive safely to conditions
  6. Chemical Safety: Always comply with the Safety Data Sheet and the relevant procedure when working with or around chemicals
  7. Working Alone: Never work alone without an appropriate communication device and someone knowing where you are.

 

Communication is key

When we caught up with Greening Australia Senior Ecologist Jess Gardener, who works in rural Victoria, she highlighted the importance of using communication technology for everyday safety at work.

“Often we’re working out in locations which aren’t covered by mobile phone reception, so we use a satellite communicator called an inReach device, which not only allows shareable tacking and GPS coordinates but also has the ability to send and receive 160 character text messages. I frequently use the inReach device myself as well as supplying them to contractors.

“Previously we only used Spot devices which allows the person in the field to send their location, but they had no idea whether that message was received and they received nothing back. Now it’s great that we can have two-way communication and can check in on anyone, at anytime. When someone checks in, it links to an app on my phone and I can see exactly where they are.

“While we can’t call people in remote locations to speak with them, the text messages are the next best thing. And we always call people at the end of the day when they come back into range to see how they’ve got on. We get told that Greening Australia is great for this, so that’s something to be proud of.”

Greening Australia Senior Ecologist Jess Gardner, who works in rural Victoria

 

Looking out for each other

Most of our restoration work is done in partnership with farmers and other landholders, since we don’t own much land ourselves. That means the landholders we work with often act as our safety net – we chat through where we’re going to be, we agree on check-in times, we let them know when we’re heading out. Having good strong working relationships with farmers and other landholders makes for a safe working environment, and that means respect and courtesy goes both ways. Farm Safety Week is a great time to say thank you and acknowledge the role farmers and other landholders play in looking out for us while we work with them to improve the resilience and biodiversity of productive farmland across Australia.

National Farm Safety Week is held each year to raise awareness of farm safety issues across Australia. The week provides an opportunity for Farmsafe Australia to address farm safety issues that have a national focus. It has been running successfully for the past 19 years.