Safety pays off for Merredin farmers

29 Dec, 2010 09:40 AM
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Safety first: Tania Higgins and Richard Last (front) receive their prizes from CBH representatives District Two director Mick McGinniss, Spike Jones, Terry Anderson, Bradley Dack and CBH Grain director Gavin Thomas.
Safety first: Tania Higgins and Richard Last (front) receive their prizes from CBH representatives District Two director Mick McGinniss, Spike Jones, Terry Anderson, Bradley Dack and CBH Grain director Gavin Thomas.

STAYING safe has paid off for two farming families, who each received a $200 shopping voucher for displaying outstanding safety awareness while delivering grain to the Merredin CBH receival point this harvest.

About 20 grower-shareholders in CBH were nominated for displaying outstanding safety practices and had their names placed into a draw.

The winners drawn were Tania and Steve Higgins and Richard and Peter Last.

They also received a free gift pack each from CBH Grain.

Those nominated for the competition were farmers and delivery drivers who showed consistent safety awareness, including wearing enclosed footwear and high-visibility vests, keeping to the 20km/h speed limit and not talking on mobile phones while unloading grain.

Long-term CBH staff members Terry Anderson and Spike Jones organised the competition to encourage a culture of safety at CBH and make conditions safer for the more than 20 staff who work onsite amid trucks and heavy machinery every day.

Mr Jones has worked for CBH for 44 years and Mr Anderson for 32 years and both said they were pleased with the growers’ enthusiasm to adopt safer practices.

“Two years ago many drivers did not wear high-visibility vests and got out of their trucks in thongs, sandals or even barefoot,” Mr Anderson said.

“We introduced compulsory high-visibility vests last year and now that we’ve held the competition this year, we have seen people embrace safer practices.

“We put about 20 growers into the draw for the competition and most of the ones who didn’t get into the draw were excluded for speeding at up to 60km/h.

“So we have put up an electronic sign which tells people the speed they are doing and have seen a significant reduction in speeding.”

One of the competition winners, Tania Higgins, said she thought the new safety competition was a great idea.

“We have children working as samplers, so an emphasis on safety at CBH receival points is something that is very dear to my heart,” she said.

Mr Jones and Mr Anderson’s competition is just one of many initiatives being implemented after CBH identified safety as a priority to reduce lost time injuries within the company.

Three years ago, 16 staff members were hit by tailgate levers springing under load.

Under new CBH guidelines, staff members can now refuse to open a tailgate if they think it is unsafe.

Local farmer and CBH District Two director Mick McGinniss said over the past year, lost time injuries had dropped by 50 per cent thanks to new initiatives in the company.

“This means savings for shareholders due to a reduction in workers compensation incidents, which are at a record low,” he said.

CBH staff members are required to wear long sleeves and long pants to protect against the sun but Mr McGinniss said growers would not be required to go to that extent.

“CBH will not be asking shareholders to adopt any more safety measures than are currently in place,” he said.

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Merredin-Wheatbelt MercurySource: http://www.merredinmercury.com

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