Category one – Best solution to an identified work health and safety issue
Christmas Creek Cattle Company identified safety risks to its workers, dogs, horses and livestock while crossing from one part of their property, 'Christmas Creek', to the other side of the busy Carnarvon Highway.
Moving livestock between the properties became a greater issue when the road was upgraded from gravel to a sealed highway. The speed limit increased to 110kms/hr and there was more traffic.
The company's solution was to use the large culverts under the highway, enabling livestock to be moved from one property to another without crossing the highway at all. After applying to the local council and the Department of Transport and Main Roads, the culverts were approved to be used as a cattle crossing once the company installed fencing, gateways and fixings.
Using the culverts:
- eliminated the risks from crossing the busy highway
- reduced the number of workers needed to complete the crossing with livestock from three or four people to just one
- reduced staff, livestock and working animals stress levels as there is less pressure to move the livestock quickly over a dangerous highway
- improved morale, productivity and the safety culture amongst workers because they were involved in the decision-making process throughout.
Christmas Creek Cattle Company
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My husband, Bradley, and I own and operate Christmas Creek Cattle Company, which is a beef breeding and finishing operation. Our property's about 20 thousand hectors, dissected by the canal and highway. Crossing the cattle across the highway was a huge risk to our business. Unpredictable livestock, our employees, who ride horses or hogs, the potential to have an accident on the highway, was huge. We identified that there was an existing culvert running under the highway that would be suitable to cross cattle through.
We just needed then to modify our infrastructure to suit that culvert, so fencing and holding paddocks were then erected around the culvert to allow safe passage under the highway.
It was very important to Bradley and I that the team was engaged in the decision making. We identified the problem, and we carried out the work as a team, as well. The process was not simple, we just thought we could put a fence to the culvert, but there were several avenues we had to approach. The department of transport, for road corridor permit, it was also a stock route, so we had to have special gates in place for traveling stock, and also through the central Holland's regional council, because they're our local, government body, which maintains the road in this area.
Now, life is a whole lot safer, it's a whole lot simpler, and one person can do the job of three to four people, happily and safely, and not feel under threat each time you cross cattle from one side of the property to the other. We have a safety culture here within Christmas Creek Cattle Company, that we pride ourselves upon. We believe the safety of our employees is paramount, and everybody should be able to go home to their families after a day at work.