This profile is part of a seven-part series from WorkSafe New Zealand sharing the health and safety approaches taken by the top finalists of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year 2021 competition. Over the next seven weeks, we will share a profile and a short video about each of the finalists and how they integrate health and safety into their work, from a dairy farm manager to an agribusiness banker.
Tasman FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand finalist Roshean Woods comes to the Young Farmer competition with a different background than many other finalists – but it gives her a range of perspectives, both from having worked on a farm and visit farms during the course. from his work.
Roshean, a farming systems scientist at DairyNZ, grew up in Timaru and excelled in science. His interest in the agricultural sector was sparked by a lecture at his school by representatives from Lincoln University and DairyNZ, outlining opportunities for scientists in the industry.
She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Lincoln, as a DairyNZ Fellow, with specialization in Environmental Bio-geoscience and Plant Science, followed by honors focusing on greenhouse gases, in particular soil nitrous oxide. and dairy effluents. She spent a year as a DairyNZ and AgResearch science intern, then returned to Lincoln to do her PhD researching how forages can reduce nitrate leaching into soils.
Along the way, she began to gain practical experience on farms. Its first introduction was at the Lincoln University Research Dairy Farm, followed by a summer of work on a commercial dairy farm.
During this time, she was in a work accident when the two-wheeler she was driving hit a board in a driveway and informed her. The experience has made her very aware of the importance of good health and safety practices, including keeping work areas free from hazards – and wearing the right PPE.
“I had received basic training on how to use the bicycle and wore a helmet and did not travel very fast because I was very aware of being new to cycling,” says Roshean. “But hitting the board still made me tip over and I burned my leg on the bike.
“Usually I would have worn full overalls but it was a very hot day so for the first time I wore shorts and a t-shirt to work – if I had been fully covered I could have been better protected. The rest of my summer working on the farm was spent with my leg bandaged, trying very hard to keep it clean. The scars are fading now but it’s a permanent reminder. “
After completing her PhD, Roshean joined an agricultural environment consulting firm in Canterbury, before joining her current role at DairyNZ 18 months ago. During her studies, she had also joined Christchurch City Young Farmers.
“They were very welcoming and much of my introduction to occupational health and safety on the farm came from young farmers and information provided by industry organizations.
“There are also practical things at Young Farmers like how to get on and off a tractor, maintaining three points of contact.
“Within the consulting firm, I did a lot of modeling of farming systems, which involved interacting with farmers to get a very good understanding of farms and practices. From now on, when I go out to the farms, I mainly assist our technical teams or I meet farmers on our research projects.
“We always communicate with the farmers to let them know we are coming and to try to make arrangements to meet them when we arrive. Many farmers are now using agricultural health and safety applications. Often times, there will be a sign at the door with the details of the app, so you can log in and see the details and even pictures of the risks. Apps can be useful, but it’s important to use them correctly, as part of a larger health and safety program. You can’t just get an app and think it’s your health and safety sorted out. “
Roshean says that since the risks on the farm can change very quickly, she also always enjoys meeting the farmer.
“At certain times of the year, farmers may need to tell us if there are bulls in the pens with the cows. There may be earthworks in some areas, we need to stay away or be warned if there are any dangers in the walkways and places we should not drive.
“I think the key to effective health and safety on farms is to keep it simple. I recently attended a seminar hosted by Al McCone (Agriculture Leader for WorkSafe) for the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management. It was really interesting. Good farm health and safety doesn’t mean doing a lot of paperwork. You don’t need it. It’s about having all the basics covered and communicating well. “
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