Rural safety receives grant boost

Rural safety receives grant boost

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A push to improve safety in rural industries, by providing practical tools, has won a statewide competition, including a $20,000 grant to help #plantaseedforsafety.

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LOOKING AHEAD: Rural health and safety campaigner Alex Thomas has received a $20,000 grant for her push to help share the on-farm safety message.

LOOKING AHEAD: Rural health and safety campaigner Alex Thomas has received a $20,000 grant for her push to help share the on-farm safety message.

A push to improve safety in rural industries, by providing practical tools, has won a statewide competition, including a $20,000 grant to help #plantaseedforsafety.

Alex Thomas, who also won the AgriFutures Rural Woman earlier this year, was announced as a recipient of the Augusta Zadow awards for her work to encourage on-farm safety.

This includes a social media campaign, using the #plantaseedforsafety, which will celebrate the role of rural women and amplify the good work already being done to manage risk on rural properties and communities.

Ms Thomas will use the funding to promote practical tools for safety in rural areas, which as injuries and fatalities among the highest in any industry.

She will also profile 100 rural women online who have improved safety on their property or in their communities, to engage and inspire others to find meaningful ways to improve work health and safety. 

“I’m hoping to engage and empower rural woman to take the lead in inspiring rural men to make safer choices,” she said.

Related reading: Family spurs Alex’s push to bolster safety

Women play key role in safety message

Also receiving funding of $10,000, were Jaspreet Kaur and Anne Purdy of the Working Women’s Centre, who have been working to develop and translate multilingual fact sheets to help working women better understand the worker’s compensation scheme.

“We are thrilled to have received this award and the impact this will have on the women to navigate the workers compensation scheme,” they said. “It’s a real privilege to work to assist others.” 

Flinders University student Sara Howard, Flinders University, received $15,000 to develop collaborative robtos or “cobots” to build relationships between technology and safety, such as through lifting strain.

The project will work with VET students to assess the implications of cobots and safety and will explore whether TAFE modules need to be tailored to provide more support in transitioning young people to workplaces of the future. 

“(It is) examining the increasing role of Industry 4.0 technologies in the workplace – so think collaborative robots and think the Jetsons, and how young people are likely to respond to these technologies and how this may influence career decisions and workplace injuries,” she said.

The awards commemorate Augusta Zadow, who was an advocate for women’s rights in the workplace – particularly in clothing factories – and became SA’s “First Lady Inspector of Factories” in 1895. 

SafeWork SA awards grants annually to projects that address a work health and safety issue faced by women at work or seek to significantly improve health and safety for women at work through research or education, with a record 25 entries this year. 

Workplace education and business services director Glenn Farrell said it was pleasing to be able to fund such thoughtful and innovative projects to help women and young people in the workplace.

“Women and young workers work in a diverse range of workplaces and can have unique health and safety issues,” he said. 

“This year’s award recipients recognise those challenges and have developed practical, hands-on projects.” 

The awards were presented at Government House by SA Governor Hieu Van Le. 

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