The wool-growing and shearing industries are currently in a strong position, but there are important safety issues that need to be addressed. WASIA has long advocated that as an industry we need to ensure we are doing everything to reduce the likelihood of injuries and accidents occurring. Working conditions that are below standard also affect our ability to attract and keep workers.
Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) is providing funding to the WA Shearing Industry Association (WASIA) to develop a National Shearing Shed Safety Assessment Program to assist in improving conditions for those working in shearing sheds and improve compliance with modern workplace standards to reduce risk and injuries and to reduce insurance and worker’s compensation claims.
The objectives of the program are to:
- improve conditions for shearing shed workers
- improve compliance with modern workplace standards
- reduce risk and injuries and
- gather industry data regarding shearing safety, risk issues, monitor and track improvements and barriers to improvement.
The latest statistics available from WorkSafe show that in WA on average 2009 to 2015 there were 90 claims a year for shearing activities, with 69 cases reporting more than 5 days of lost time and in the latest year 2014-15 there were 30 cases reporting more than 60 days of lost time due to injury. In 2014-15 Worksafe calculated this as a total estimated cost of $3.5 million dollars in WA.
CGU have also come on board as a Program Partner, providing funding for the program. CGU is a leading rural insurer and a top three provider of workers compensation and they are supporting this as part of their commitment to reduce workplace injuries and achieve sustainable return to work outcomes.
The Shearing Shed Safety Assessment Program is targeted at woolgrowers and shed owners to provide the knowledge, skills and tools for shed owners/operators to effectively manage their duty-of-care and workplace obligations. The Program will also gather extremely valuable data regarding the overall state of shearing sheds, hazards and measured improvements.