Wool industry and farming leaders want the new web-based training programme Tahi Ngātahi to become part of every woolshed in the country, so that injuries occurring in and around the shed can be reduced.

Tahi Ngātahi has been officially launched at the New Zealand Agricultural Show by shearing and farming industry leaders today, with the support of Agriculture Minister Hon 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 those working in the business.

According to ACC compensation data in 2017 there were 755 work-related injuries in wool harvesting, resulting in 9,300 working days lost to the industry, and 4700 work-related injuries in wool growing, or farming, resulting in 35,000 days lost to the industry.

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"The way to reduce that injury count is for all shearers, farmers and their staff to do this online programme. It's got to become part of every shed," he said.

Federated Farmers national president Katie Milne says education is key to improving most aspects of someone's life.

"Everyone has the right to turn up to work and leave at the end of the day unharmed."

Federated Farmers Meat and Wool executive member David Acland said most farmers and shearers will be doing things correctly with sheep preparation and in most areas of the shed.

"But the videos in Tahi Ngātahi are a check-list to see if that's the case, and we can all always learn something new or a better way of doing things."

"It's really important that our shearing sheds are up to standard, and that farmers and their shearing contractors are aware of safety and working together on this. This programme gives us a simple tool to ensure we are doing that," says Acland.

Damien O'Connor enjoys a light moment with Federated Farmers Meat and Wool executive chair David Acland (left) and NZ Shearing Contractors Association President Mark Barrowcliffe. Photo / Supplied
Damien O'Connor enjoys a light moment with Federated Farmers Meat and Wool executive chair David Acland (left) and NZ Shearing Contractors Association President Mark Barrowcliffe. Photo / Supplied

Hunterville shearing contractor Shane Ratima says he's found Tahi Ngātahi really valuable for teaching shearing contractors how to look after themselves and deal with stress when the pressure comes on at the height of the shearing season, and also for introducing new staff to the industry.

"It really gives them an overview of how dangerous it can be in the woolshed. To have that explained to them before they even set foot in the woolshed is quite valuable."

Tahi Ngātahi means 'one, together' and describes the industry-driven partnership between farmers, shearing contractors and government develop the programme. ACC has funded $1 million over three years and it's also supported by WorkSafe.

Agriculture Minister Hon. Damien O'Connor told the launch that Tahi Ngātahi was an excellent collaborative initiative that not only put people's safety first, but added value to the businesses of both farmers and shearers.

"These industries can be proud that what started as an idea has now developed into an important and user-friendly injury prevention programme.

"We want everyone to go home safe from work every day and this programme helps to make that a reality."

The programme features farmers and shearers demonstrating best practice health and safety techniques around the woolshed and can be competed, over time, in around 2 hours.

Find out more at www.tahingatahi.co.nz