Tahi Ngātahi is a new online learning platform that uses video clips to pass on skills and safety tips to farmers, shearing contractors and their employees so they can run a safe and productive wool harvest.
It’s a joint initiative between the NZ Shearing Contractors’ Association (NZSCA), Federated Farmers, Worksafe NZ and ACC.
NZSCA are responsible for shearing 70% of the nation’s flock, performing 40 million shears every year. They work on over 8,000 sheep farms every year and employ around 3,200 workers. 80% of the workforce are Māori, hence the initiative’s Māori name Tahi Ngātahi, which means ‘one, together’.
Keeping workers injury-free in a physically demanding occupation is a big issue for the industry. The wool producing sector currently has an ACC work account of over $25 million in new claims liability. In 2017, there were 755 work-related injuries in wool harvesting, resulting in 9,300 working days lost to the industry.
It makes health and safety training accessible, part of ‘business as usual’ and a team effort. Over 800 farmers, shearers and wool handlers have signed up since it was launched in 2018.
Tahi Ngātahi has developed an interactive multimedia training programme for employers and employees in the wool growing and harvesting industry. Farmers, shearers and their staff can access the digital warrant of fitness and other resources to update and improve their approach to safety in and around the woolshed.
Most injuries occurring around the woolshed are preventable, including common injuries like sprains, strains and wounds. Some of these could be prevented by having better maintained equipment, better prepared sheep, or by everyone taking time to rest and maintain their body for the physical work they do. The industry is keen to reduce common injuries by sharing how they can be prevented.
Farmers, shearing contractors and their staff go to www.tahingatahi.co.nz and sign in to begin the modules which cover all aspects of working in the woolshed. There are more than 30 videos covering safety topics for all wool industry workers and farmers involved in wool growing and harvesting.
Farmers can complete their WorkSafe endorsed Woolshed Warrant of Fitness (also on WorkSafe website) and share this with their shearing contractor, keep records of their certified workers and know that their workers are certified to keep themselves and animals safe in the working woolshed.
Shearers and their staff get a Tahi Ngātahi certificate they can share with their employer to show they have completed the programme and are up to speed with health and safety practices in the woolshed.
To assist with covering costs there is a charge to shearing contractors and a small charge for farmers. It’s free to shed staff who are registered with an employer.
Farmers can learn from their peers how to improve business work practices, complete their woolshed Warrant of Fitness online and share this with their shearing contractor. They can also keep records of their certified workers and ensure their staff are trained how to keep themselves and animals safe in the working woolshed.
Shearing contractors can show farmer employers they are Tahi Ngātahi certified, can keep a record of staff who have their Tahi Ngātahi certificate, and can ensure their staff are up to date with health and safety requirements.
Staff will learn know how to prevent injuries to themselves and others and can share their Tahi Ngātahi certificate with their employer and future employees.
The programme is designed to be moved through simply and quickly. Completing the modules will take around 2 hours, and can be done at your own pace any time. We encourage farmers, shearers and their staff to complete it before their next shearing season.
The content covers all the jobs in and around the wool shed so everyone completes the same programme. Tahi Ngātahi means one, together and we believe we can prevent injuries by helping the whole team understand each other’s roles in and around the wool shed and how they everyone has a part in making a safe work place together.