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Beyond the Bale : March 2014
38 ON-FARM Professional shed conditions FAST FACTS lEast Gippsland shearing contractor Trevor King strongly believes in reducing the health and safety risks of his staff. lTrevor's sheds have many safety innovations and he does not tolerate workers taking drugs. lIf the industry wants to attract and retain professional shearers and wool handlers it needs to ensure there are professional shed conditions in which to work. Omeo shearing contractor Trevor King's strong stance on health and safety in sheds has shearers and wool handlers keen to work for him, and woolgrowers keen to use his services. Trevor, 57, has been focussed on the safety of his workers throughout his 41 years shearing. His contract business started in 1992 and his son Tom, 23, and daughter Shelley, 20, are also shearers. Trevor enlisted the help a few years ago of former shearer and now ergonomist Michael Lawrence to audit the safety of his sheds after meeting him at a Shearing Contractors' Association of Australia conference. "Then it became a competition among all the farmers to have the best shed for me," Trevor said. This led to safety switches being installed in the sheds, so anybody could turn all the shearing machines off if a shearer lost control of a handpiece. "No rouseabout has to get hurt Omeo shearing contractor Trevor King with a safety switch in a wool shed. stopping an out-of-control handpiece." Also all his sheds have safety switches on the wool presses, to save the presser from getting an arm caught or even killed by a descending ram. Other innovations that have improved safety and work function are chains to hold overhead back supports, mesh wool bin sides and sloping batten floors in catching pens. Nearly all Trevor's farmers crutch their sheep before shearing and he provides bags for rubbish, a well-equipped first aid box plus extra smoko gear such as biscuits, noodles and mugs. "In return I get good service from all my staff." Any gear used on the board is washed and disinfected before the next "PEOPLE SHOULD COME AND SEE HOW SIMPLE IT IS TO MAKE A SHED SAFE FOR EVERYBODY." TREVOR KING March 2014 BEYOND THE BALE