Q fever awareness

Between 2001 and 2012, there were 177 workers compensation claims for query (Q) fever in NSW, with costs totalling more than $3.5 million.

Given this alarming statistic, the growing threat of Q fever, and the fact that many cases go unreported, we are educating those in the veterinary industry about the dangers of the bacteria. It can leave you immobile for many months, with the possibility of life-long effects. Fatigue, fever, headaches and muscle pain are just some of the symptoms.

If you work in the veterinary industry – or other high-risk industries where you may come into contact with infected animals – and have not been exposed to Q fever, we recommend you consult your GP and ask if a vaccination is suitable for you.

Learn more about Q fever.

An inspiration to us all

David Nugent owns a cattle farm near Wagga Wagga and does some contract work supplying hay and operating heavy machinery to supplement his income when times are tough.

Twenty years ago, David was seriously injured when his arms became caught in a hay baler as he was trying to fix a fault. As the baler pulled his arms in with such force, he suffered chest and head injuries along with extensive injuries to both arms. He was trapped for more than an hour before being rescued by a passing motorist and rushed to hospital.

David spent five months in hospital, had his right arm amputated above the elbow and numerous surgeries to save the left arm, including orthopaedic reconstruction, skin grafting, vascular grafting and infection control.

David knew nothing other than farming and was widely known in his community for solving problems and finding solutions. And this horrific tragedy did not deter him. His motto: the farm will not beat me.

With the help of a rehabilitation provider, prosthetic technician, case manager, family and friends, he developed a comprehensive return to work program and purchased modified equipment through SIRA’s vocational rehabilitation program. He made changes to the farm set-up, re-designed his work practices, and researched widely to find equipment that would satisfy his needs.

David credits a determined, problem-solving attitude and a great team as the principal reasons for his remarkable achievements.

Although the incident happened 20 years ago, David continues to receive medical treatment for his injuries but has returned to his pre-injury duties as a self-employed cattle farmer, hay contractor, bob-cat operator and earth mover.

David’s achievements were recognised last year when he won the 2017 SafeWork NSW Award for Recovery at Work Achievement Award for Injured Workers.

Register today for the 2018 SafeWork NSW Awards.


Cutting old drums – it’s not worth the risk

Cutting an old drum may seem like a cheap alternative to buying a new storage container or feed trough, but the results can be disastrous.

Even if they’ve been rinsed and left empty for years, drums that once contained petrol, solvents or oil can catch fire or explode when heat is applied.

Watch this video to learn about the risks and what you should do.

Help shape horse industry safety

One worker is hospitalised each day in Australia due to a horse related injury, and for every worker hurt, another ten non-workers are injured.

It’s hard to believe, but in the last fourteen years 133 people in Australia have died and a significant amount has been paid out in workers compensation for horse-related injuries sustained at work.

This picture has led SafeWork NSW to develop a NSW code of practice for managing risks when new and inexperienced people interact with horses.

We are now calling for individuals and businesses to help shape horse-industry safety.

SafeWork NSW Acting Executive Director, Jodie Deakes, said new and inexperienced people are at a higher risk of injury in a variety of situations when interacting with horses.

“While 35 per cent of reported injuries result from falls from horses, 40 per cent are injuries that result from being struck by a horse, so the danger is present in activities other than just riding,” said Ms Deakes.

In addition, Ms Deakes says, an employer’s obligations are not limited only to workers.

“An employer or business owner also has work health and safety obligations towards customers and members of the public who enter their workplace.

“Think trail riding businesses, equestrian centres, or other businesses such as farms where workers or members of the public enter a workplace to transport a horse, deliver goods, tend to an injured animal, or fix a fence.

“Business owners therefore need to be able to identify hazards that pose a risk, whether that’s related to the skill of the person interacting with the horse, the horse itself, or the environment where the two come into contact.

“This code of practice aims to provide practical advice for Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBUs) on how to do that.”

SafeWork NSW is currently consulting with the public to find out how to improve guidance when it comes to risk management for new and inexperienced people around horses.

The code of practice will provide a basis to establish safe processes and ultimately to avoid tragic incidents.

We know there are many stakeholders from a wide range of businesses, that are particularly keen to improve safety standards so now is the time to have your say.

Provide feedback here or call 13 10 50 for more information.