Shifting half of New Zealand’s crossbred wool clip to higher value fine wool contracts could boost the economy by about $2 billion, says NZ Merino Company (NZM) chief executive John Brakenridge.
Tahi Ngātahi was formally launched last week at the New Zealand Agricultural Show by shearing and farming industry leaders with the support of Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.
New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association president Mark Barrowcliffe says most wool harvesting injuries are preventable and all have a detrimental effect on everyone working in the business.
Last year 755 work-related injuries occurred in wool harvesting, resulting in 9300 working days lost (ACC weekly compensation data), and 4700 work-related injuries occurred in wool growing (farming) resulting in 35,000 days lost.
“We want to reduce the injury count by sharing how they can be prevented,” Barrowcliffe said.
“The way to do that is for all shearers, farmers and their staff to do this online programme. We want it to become part of every shed.”
Those who complete the programme are certified as being up-to-date on health and safety practices.
ACC has paid $1 million over three years for the programme in support of the industry taking the lead and partnering to reduce injuries. The programme is also supported by WorkSafe.
O’Connor told the launch that Tahi Ngātahi was an excellent joint effort that put people’s safety first and added value to farmers’ and shearers’ businesses.
“These industries can be proud that what started as an idea has now developed into an important and user-friendly injury prevention programme.”
Federated Farmers Meat & Wool chair Miles Anderson says the tool is valuable for farmers because they can complete their woolshed ‘warrant of fitness’ online, keep records of their certified workers and ensure their staff are trained to keep themselves and animals safe in the woolshed.
About Tahi Ngātahi
Tahi Ngātahi means ‘one, together’ and describes the industry-driven partnership between farmers, shearing contractors and government to prevent injuries in the wool growing and harvesting industry.
It’s an industry-led collaboration between the New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association, Federated Farmers and government agencies.
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. About 30 videos cover safety topics for all wool industry workers and farmers.