Seddon-based shearing contractor Angus Moore has worked in the industry since 2003. He's one of over 800 people who've signed up with the new online health and safety initiative Tahi Ngātahi, which aims to reduce workplace injuries by 30 per cent. The platform uses short videos and quizzes to upskill workers.
What do you like about your job?
It gets in your blood and you just enjoy it. Every day is a challenge. I enjoy helping other people fulfil their potential and helping them learn about the job and themselves at the same time. I also enjoy doing a good job for our farmers and providing for my family.
What do you think of the Tahi Ngātahi videos?
The videos are good. Simple and straight to the point. They're really pertinent because they are specifically about the things we have injuries with the most, e.g. wrists, backs, hips.
They're easy to watch but they cram a lot of information in a short time and they've got good people from our industry that have actually done this stuff and shown it actually works - top shearers like Roland Smith and Emily Welch – people who are renowned for their skills.
I look at these videos and think "oh well if that person thinks it's good, then it's got to be good for me too".
How big an issue is injury prevention?
It's a really important issue. Let's face it, our bodies are the tool that make us our money. If I can't look after my body, if I don't go to the mechanics and get a tune up every so often and just look after things, then it's not going to work for very long.
If you blow your wrist you might be out for three weeks - and that might be the busiest time of year when you're out. So if you just spent half an hour watching these videos and doing a bit of research on it and doing these exercises, you might just save yourself three weeks off work and make yourself a bit stronger.
You've got to try and look after yourself for a long period of time so you can work a good average number of days each year so you can actually make that money you're trying to make for your family or to pay your house off or whatever you want to do.
What do you think the impact of Tahi Ngātahi will be for rural communities?
Long term, it's got to be good for everybody. It's good for the workers, for the farmer and it just creates a bit of feeling that everyone cares.
There's nothing worse than going to work in the morning and you get the feeling the farmer doesn't really care.
If the job is really hard, or the sheep are really difficult or it's a hot day and there's issues and there's not windows in the shed and the farmer doesn't care then that makes you feel like "you don't care about me, why should I care about you?". That's what you see happen sometimes.
So what's the key to getting farmers on board?
The biggest thing with health and safety is communication. Not just putting up with stuff because it's always been put up with, like bad lighting or holes in the grating or whatever it might be.
A lot of farmers might not even be aware that the lighting is bad. If it's a rainy day or early in the morning and they come into the corner quite often I'll say "the lighting isn't very good" and they'll say "oh, it's not very good".
So it's just talking to them and often they are very keen - because it's their clip, it's their wool, we're talking about the safety of people coming onto their property and they want to do that well.
We find when we mention something, 9 times out of ten the farmers say "oh, I didn't know about that, we're happy to fix that, let's get something sorted".
What are your hopes for Tahi Ngātahi?
It's like anything - if people don't use it, it's not going to work. But I think, from what I've seen of it, if people look at it and watch the videos, they'll like it.
It's not complicated stuff, but it makes a big difference to how your body feels for the day.
So I say get on Tahi Ngātahi and check it out. It'll benefit your work throughout the year, you'll have less days off and more numbers or hours on the board. I really think it's beneficial and you should get stuck into it.
Tahi Ngātahi will make shearing and woolhandling a lot more attractive to anyone new to the industry.
And the more people we have doing local work for local farmers and living locally and stuff, kids going to the local school etc the better off our communities will be. It just builds everything up.