6 Dec 2017

Landcorp launches safety programme after deaths

8:51 pm on 6 December 2017

State farmer Landcorp has launched a health and safety programme to try and reduce the high number of deaths and accidents in the sector.

The Pamu Academy is a joint venture between Landcorp Farming and Wilson Consulting Group of Australia and aims to get farmers on short courses around the country.

Landcorp chief executive Steven Carden said after three staff deaths in six months the company reevaluated its safety approach and leadership training.

He said the programme would be available to everyone in the industry and he was hoping it would be a game-changer.

"Over the last two years we've invested a huge amount into changing the safety culture of Landcorp, helping our farmers identify and manage risks, and more than anything changing people's attitudes towards safety.

"Now we'd like to take those expertise and training tools out to a broader public."

Mr Carden said it was hard to change attitudes.

"Particularly when it comes to safety people inherently believe that the way in which they work is safe, and if something goes wrong they're just unlucky."

Landcorp's most successful work is helping farmers identify what actions they can take to keep themselves safe, he said.

"It requires an attitude toward constant vigilance and awareness of risk, and really open and strong communication in the workplace to ensure potential risks are being talked about the entire time."

Mr Carden said Landcorp was developing programmes to help workers with resilience, stress, fatigue, nutrition, and sleep.

"We believe that if we don't get those elements right for our staff ... outside the work place, then we can't expect them to be safe inside the workplace."

He said mental health and wellness in general were the foundation stones for happy, successful, and safe workplaces.

Pāmu Academy General Manager Rebecca Keoghan said safety leadership has a direct relationship with business performance.

"I have seen this first hand on my own complex of seven farms in the Buller region, on the West Coast."