Alex Thomas is the founder of #PlantASeedForSafety. A passionate advocate for health and safety in rural industries and communities, Alex’s journey started with firsthand experience as a part-time carer for her disabled father, whose condition was the result of his lifetime in the agriculture industry in the north of South Australia. Alex is the 2018 Agrifutures Rural Woman of the Year (SA) winner and the 2018 SafeWork SA Augusta Zadow Award winner. She works with businesses across a range of industries to assist them in rethinking policies, procedures and paperwork, and taking a people-based approach to improving health and safety. Alex shares with the Plains Producer some practical tips for getting started in improving farm safety.

FACT: there’s not one line in work health and safety (WHS) law that says you need to have a documented policy or procedure.

Contrary to what you might have heard, being ‘compliant’ with WHS legislation requires you to do one thing, and one thing only – and that it is – To take reasonable steps to prevent someone from being killed or seriously injured (and that includes yourself).

Now while there are many, many reasons why there is an unhealthy perception that ‘WHS = paperwork’, demonstrating ‘compliance’ can be as simple as the following:

1. Sit down with your family / staff.

2. Have a chat about what could kill or seriously injure someone, and how.

3. Make a to-do list of what you (as a team) are going to do to prevent those things from happening.

4. Do your best to knock each item off the list.

5. Repeat.

In short, you can have the best policies and procedures in the world, but paperwork doesn’t save lives – people do. Set clear expectations about what’s okay and what’s not okay, walk the talk AND talk the talk. Slow down, speak up and take care.

#PlantASeedForSafety and #SaveALifeListenToYourWife

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