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Creating a culture of safety from the top down

Driving home after a recent day-long tour of member premises I found myself pondering on the role of leadership in encouraging and managing product stewardship and safety.  I visited four stores and experienced four completely different approaches to leadership in these areas. Note that I do not drop in unannounced, I call beforehand to ensure my visit is timely and welcomed.


At one store I was met by the store manager, who obviously did not know I was coming. It seems I had spoken earlier to someone else in the business. He was not keen to let me in, kept me in the display area, possibly confusing me with the regulator. While waving vaguely to a poster on the wall, he assured me that all things “safety” were dealt with by “head office” and was relieved when I decided to end the visit very quickly and return again with more preparation.


At the next store I was pointed directly “out the back” by a retail assistant, with no safety instruction. I was to find the storeman and to do this I had to negotiate pallets of stock and a forklift. Once I found the right person, I learned unsurprisingly that safety was not seen as important by management and that there were a number of long-term outstanding issues.


The next store was outstanding by comparison. I was met by the manager and invited to his office where we discussed safety and product stewardship at a strategic and business level. We toured the building including the warehouse and safety “station”, in hi-vis and hard hats. It appeared to me that this was someone who really understood their role in leading safety, and walked the talk.


The last store was a similar story, with an engaged manager keen to discuss safety issues at a strategic level. We toured the premises in safety gear and looked at recent amendments to the buildings to improve storage safety.  This manager had recently attended leadership training on behalf of his local fire brigade and had brought back to the business and implemented some of the skills he had learned. I encouraged him to have this training recognised for reaccreditation as it is just the higher level development that people who have been in the sector for a long time can use.


Agsafe facilitators often work directly with the storeman, particularly during an assessment visit. One take-home message for me from my trip was, in future, to ensure that both the store manager and the person responsible for chemical storage received a copy of our report, as both may read the same report and see different things. The storemen may see recommendations for improvement that could make their job safer and easier, whereas a manager might see the results in terms of corporate risk, budget impact or need for capital expenditure. I have come to the conclusion that the best solution is to embrace both points of view.


I look forward to some feedback on this matter from members.


Alison Carmichael, General Manager


Staff changes at Agsafe

The Agsafe accreditation and training program has recently undergone some changes. The role of Accreditation and Training Manager is to be split in two so as to put more focus on each important part of our business.


Members should not see a lot of change in the short term, but the longer term impact will be more and improved services delivered in ways that better suit each members’ needs.


Adam Armstrong, training administrator, has taken a new position with ACT Government. We extend our thanks to Adam for his contributions in keeping all of the training administration running smoothly for the last five years. We welcome Anne Katalinic who has temporarily taken over Adam’s tasks pending further changes down the track.


New position

Agsafe is seeking to employ a National Accreditation Program Manager, based in Canberra. The job advertisement can be viewed on Seek and on the Agsafe website here. We invite members to share these links to anyone who they think might be interested in the job.



Agsafe at the Northern Australia Food Futures Conference

drumMUSTER and ChemClear’s National Program Manager Lisa Nixon recently attended the Northern Australia Food Futures Conference held between 11-13 April in Darwin.


The bi-annual conference is organised and hosted by NT Farmers’ small team. This year there were hundreds of delegates which included federal politicians along with state Primary Industries Agricultural, Fisheries and Water Ministers from their respective states. These politicians shared ideas with farmers, representatives from grower associations and investors. This collaboration was facilitated by a great line up of local media personalities.


Hearing from people living and working in northern Australia proved to be very interesting considering all of the challenges this area of Australia has to overcome. Challenges such as service providers, climate, transportation and labour issues including cost, skills availability and geographic distances.


The opportunities to develop northern Australia are significant with the conference having a positive focus on the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper and Northern Australia Development White Paper. These papers set the scene for governments input into establishing the framework and future development of the north.


Having key state and federal government ministers, and senior government and industry staff participate was also an important part of the knowledge sharing of the event. drumMUSTER and ChemClear were pleased, once again, to partner with NT Farmers in their trade display at the Conference and provide them with our ongoing support in the development of Agriculture in the north.


Notifiable incidences

A notifiable incident is a work-related serious injury or illness, dangerous incident, or of course a death and even “near misses”. It doesn’t matter if the person is an employee, contractor or member of the public, it must be reported to the state regulator immediately and the incident site secured for inspection.


Do you know who is responsible for reporting incidents in your workplace?


Safe Work Australia has a comprehensive fact sheet that list all they types of illnesses and injuries that should lead to notification, what information is required to be reported and who the contacts are in each state and territory.


You can find the fact sheet here


Proposed changes to the Dangerous Goods Code


Recently Agsafe notified members of proposed changes to the Dangerous Goods Code which we believe are worth repeating. The code is reviewed and updated every two years by the National Transport Commission (NTC).


Amendments to edition 7.4, to come into place on 1 January 2017, include:


• Adding new materials to the list of dangerous goods


• Changes to packing and labelling requirements


• Changes to lithium battery transport requirements


• Preventing drivers on provisional or learner licences from holding dangerous goods licences


• New emergency response codes (HAZCHEM) for ammonium nitrate substances


Agsafe will update the industry Code of Practice in line with the changes to version 7.4 and keep members notified.


You can read our fact sheet on the potential changes to the Code on the Agsafe website and access more detail about the changes on the Federal government website


Are we ready for global harmonisation?

On 1 January 2017, the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is scheduled to be implemented and become part of chemical manufacturing and trade processes. This is in addition to the existing Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority product assessment, labelling and registration process. Agsafe is becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of detail about the implementation of GHS, and eight months out we have no idea what it will mean for our members. Our questions include; will all products need to carry the new labels on that date? Or only those produced after that date? If the former, what will be the status of containers that do not have the new labels.


Additional hazard and precautionary statements are to be added, but signal words and pictograms are not required on labels for AgVet chemicals. For more information on this topic you can click here and read the information sheets for manufacturers and businesses handling and storing agvet chemicals. You will note that these communiqués do not yet provide any answers to the questions raised above.


CropLife Australia is concerned about the changes, stating that they will actually compromise safety and add unnecessary costs into the system. You can read their most recent media release on the topic on the CropLife website.


Agsafe will keep resellers aware of the debate and what changes they can expect, such as how it will affect their business and what they may need to do to remain compliant with regulation.


We will be presenting a webinar on GHS next month which will be free for all members to attend. More information about this event will be broadcast in the next week or so.


NSW Deputy Coroner calls for new waste management procedures

In early April this year, the NSW Deputy Coroner Hugh Dillon highlighted the importance of new procedures to address the impact of extreme weather events on waste and recycling facilities.


Mr Dillon’s comments came after a finding that involved the death of a worker who drowned during localised flooding at a Sydney waste management facility was handed down.


For more information on Mr Dillon’s comments click here



Below is a summary of upcoming courses in May. Highlighted links will direct you to specific course information as displayed on the Accreditation & Training website.

Dates for Agsafe Chemical Suppler Course in May



Dubbo - May 10

Grafton - May 17

Griffith - May 19

Tamworth - May 24


Toowoomba - May 24

Stanthorpe - May 26

Goondiwindi - May 31


Wangaratta - May 17


Launceston - May 27


Online reaccreditation modules now available


Agsafe is pleased to announce a new suite of online reaccreditation modules. These new modules are easy to access and can be completed in less than two hours and at your own convenience.


The latest title to be added to Agsafe’s suite of training is ‘Safe Storage’. There are three courses that


require completion in order to attain reaccreditation.


1. Chemicals in your workplace


2. Handling agvet chemicals


3. Storage of agvet chemicals


Upon successful completion, participants will be awarded Agsafe training points.


In the coming months, Agsafe will also be introducing additional courses. Participants will be able to mix and match to find a combination of topics that is most relevant to them and their workplace.


These modules are an ideal way to build on the knowledge gained from the ‘Agvet Chemical Supplier’ or ‘Agvet Chemical Manufacturer and Supplier’ courses.


For more information or to enrol visit aat.agsafe.com.au, email info@agsafe.com.au or call 02 6230




• 11–13 May 2016, Safety First Conference and Expo 2106, Sydney, NSW
• 6–8 September 2016, Safety in Action, Sydney, NSW



If you would like to contribute information about events or other news, please email info@agsafe.com.au.

Level 4 AMP Building 1 Hobart Pl Canberra City ACT 2601 | GPO Box 816 Canberra City ACT 2601
P 02 6230 4799 | F 02 6230 6710 | info@agsafe.com.au