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Safely handling cattle in the agriculture industry

Shane Webcke, Queensland Work Safety Ambassador discusses handling cattle safely with Ross Stricklin from Stanbroke Pastoral Company.

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Shane Webcke: G'day I'm Shane Webcke here, Queensland Workplace Health and Safety Ambassador and I'm with Ross Strickland from Stanbroke Pastoral Company and we are going to talk about handling cattle. Now obviously that's your business. Typically it's a dangerous occupation to work with a lot of cattle over a long period of time.

Ross Strickland: That's right Shane. It is. There's literally thousands of cattle moved in Queensland each day and human interaction is required in all of those. Whether it's a helicopter pilot, someone on a horse, someone on a motorbike or a truck driver as well and somebody working the yards with cattle. So you've got to have your wits about you the whole time when you're working with cattle.

Shane Webcke: What's your biggest tip? So for someone and you know obviously a lot of people been welded on doing this for a long, long time. What typically do you see that does get people hurt?

Ross Strickland: Not knowing the cattle and I think it's very important that you always do a risk assessment. And you know I'm not talking about a four page written risk assessment or anything like that. We do risk assessments every day. As soon as we hop out of bed in the morning we decide ok it's going to be cold. Yes it is, I'll put a coat on. So you've done your first risk assessment for the day. Do the same when you're working with cattle. Is there a dominant animal in the herd? Maybe you need to segregate that animal or just be a bit wary with that animal. So, yes for me number one is risk assessments.

Shane Webcke: Well talking about risk assessments and knowing that there's a dominant animal. Let's talk about bulls. Because certainly they fall into all those categories. Can you ever really trust a bull?

Ross Strickland: No Shane you can't really trust a bull. You should never work with bulls alone. Always have someone there if you have to do that. And again, make sure you don't find yourself in the cattle yards with a couple of bulls. Because they will seek each other out and the last thing you want to do is be on foot in those yards when those bulls find each other.

Shane Webcke: Now obviously across an industry as broad and as popular as the cattle industry, there's a great many workers. There's people who are just starting out and they are reasonable green if you like. And then there's people who have been doing it their whole lives. Do you think there's an A typical version of someone who will take the risk and hurt themselves. Or do you find it from this category all the way back to the starter end?

Ross Strickland: Yes Shane look I think, people do tend to take risks. It's just human nature. They will look at an easy way or a quick way of doing something and that's the last thing they should be doing. And like I said, just take a step back, settle everything down, know your cattle, and have your cattle work for you. Don't try and try and push your cattle. Are the cattle familiar with what you're asking them to do in the yards? If you do that, everything will flow well. Less stress to the cattle, less stress on the workers as well.

Shane Webcke: So your worker who has been in the industry a long time, do you think they get a little more complacent as the years go by or do they go the other way and become a little bit more cautious.

Ross Strickland: Look I think it depends on the individual. No-one wants to go to work and get hurt. Some of the younger generation you just need to instil in them and instil in them because they are 10 foot tall and bullet proof. It's when they see one of their co-workers get hurt that reality hits home and they understand, gee that could have happened to me. So I think it's just a safety message that we need to re-inforce with our people day in day out.

Shane Webcke: So therefore it goes to reasoning. Some of those older workers of stock, they actually have a pretty significant leadership role because people follow people. They don't follow rules. So those younger people within your industry and wherever it might be. They will follow those older blokes won't they?

Ross Strickland: That's right Shane. We always ask our older employees to watch over our younger employees that are new to the industry. And if you see someone doing something safe go out and tap them on the shoulder and have a yarn to them and explain to them about the tap and keep that practice going.

Shane Webcke: Absolutely, well thanks very much for your time today Ross.

Ross Strickland: Thanks Shane.

Shane Webcke: It's been a pleasure.

RUN TIME: 3 min 43 sec