Cutting injuries in shearing

Shane Ratima (left), of the New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association, shows farmer Stuart...
Shane Ratima (left), of the New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association, shows farmer Stuart Fraser, of Halcombe, in Manawatu, the new online injury prevention programme Tahi Ngatahi during a workshop in the North Island. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A new online programme for farmers and shearers aimed at reducing injuries in the woolshed will improve productivity and safety for everyone who works in the sheds, Southland farmer Bronwyn Campbell said.

Tahi Ngatahi is a collaboration between Federated Farmers and the New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association, and has financial backing from ACC and the support of WorkSafe.

The programme is based on a series of videos featuring respected industry shearers and farmers, and is being introduced in a series of meetings around the country.

Bronwyn Campbell runs a Romney and TefRom sheep stud, and a cropping farm, near Winton with her husband Grant.

She is also the co-ordinator for the Tahi Ngatahi programme.

The videos taught shearers and farmers about their role in creating a safe workplace.

"Tahi Ngatahi means `one, together' and we believe we can prevent injuries by helping the whole team understand each other's roles in and around the shed.

"It's a great resource for everyone in the industry, including farmers and staff who use a shearing contractor or have an open shed, or do some shearing or crutching over the year.

"While a lot can shear, they may be able to improve their approach so they don't injure themselves."

In 2017, there were 755 work-related injuries in wool harvesting, resulting in 9300 working days lost, according to ACC weekly compensation data.

The same year there were 4700 work-related injuries in wool growing, resulting in the loss of 35,000 working days.

Farmers, shearers and their staff who completed the programme receive a certificate.

Shearing contractors could show farmers they and their staff were Tahi Ngatahi certified, while farmers could ensure their shed was compliant by completing the "WOF".

For shearers, the programme emphasised the importance of eating and hydrating well, strengthening and stretching their bodies, and getting enough sleep.

Central Otago shearing contractor Dion Morrell features in the videos.

He welcomed new thinking towards health and safety in the industry, which he said would help attract and retain shearers.

"Thirty or 40 years ago we were taught to be hard and push back pain.

Now he encouraged staff to see a physiotherapist, a chiropractor or get help in their technique if they were having problems with pain.

A key tool in reducing injuries was to have regular and open staff meetings where everyone could share ideas and feedback and learn about best practice, he said.

"It creates a very positive atmosphere for everyone to work in.

"They want to be there and that's what we want."

The Tahi Ngatahi website went live last week.

The Southland meeting is at the Heartland Hotel Croydon, Gore, on September 19. Refreshments are from 3pm and the meeting starts at 3.30pm.

The programme will be officially launched at New Zealand Agricultural Show in November.

See Tahi Ngatahi on facebook or search Tahi Ngatahi on for more details.

 - Juliet Young

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