Key to avoiding danger
Women play an important role as drivers of safety change on farms.
In recognition of this, two women in South Australia have been encouraging rural women to take on leadership roles.
Ms Thomas is also encouraging the use of the hashtag #SaveALifeListenToYourWife.
“My intent is to empower rural women to share their stories of success, to increase their confidence and to make them more aware of their ability to influence change,” Ms Thomas said. “It’s about normalising a safety mindset as simply ‘the way we do things around here’.”
“The ultimate goal in farm safety is not to hurt or kill someone, which is why we need to look beyond compliance with work health and safety obligations to making practical changes that ensure everyone gets home safely after work each day,” she said.
Having worked in safety in many other industries, Ms Thomas believes there is no substitute for practical risk management. “Safety paperwork is merely a last line of defence,” she said. “Unless the paperwork adds serious value to the way the work is done, I would implore farmers to focus on changing things that really do make a difference.”
“Guards around augers. Fences around dams. Tool lanyards while working at height. Clear communication protocols when working remotely,” she said.
Ms Thomas’ interest in safety is inspired by her experiences as a part time-carer for her father, a former pastoralist, having battled with a number of secondary illnesses after contracting the Q fever virus more than 30 years ago after working with feral goats.