This is a question we ask at every Health & Safety Compliance Review and its interesting the answer we get back.
Terrain and topography are high on the list along with weather and environmental conditions and so are the obvious such as machinery and working with the animals.
But what trumps all these are two key risks when running todays rural businesses.
Worker Competency – managers and farm owners are really concerned about the lack of competent, practical, sensible workers and the inability and risk to be left to carry out tasks unsupervised. ‘The Boss’ would rather take on the higher risk tasks themselves than leave their workers to it or allow their workers the ‘learning opportunity’ of having a go!
Fatigue – not so much of the worker but our NZ farming & rural businesses management teams. The focus on minimum wage has meant that rather than extend the worker hours, ‘the boss’ will pick up the extra, relief and weekend work. There are a lot of very tired looking bosses out their trying to ensure that their entire business runs at a profit but not at the risk of breaking any health & safety or employment rules!
It’s tough going and recently one very good sheep & beef general manager of 40+ years summed it up the other day – the profit margins are getting thinner and the only over heads he can trim now are staff. He stated he will have to expect his managers to pick up the slack, meaning more hours for his management team increasing the risk here.
Where does the highest risk sit within your business?
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