Fruit Growers Co-Op store in Elimbah, Queensland has been awarded this month’s Agsafe Achievers award in recognition of the new health and safety improvements made to the business.
The rural retail store was awarded the national prize after installing a new pallet racking system and ensuring customers and staff are informed of important WHS procedures.
The store services a local farming community of predominately macadamia, pineapple and strawberry growers.
Store Manager Lionel Sach said the business has been running since 1924 and is a big supporter of the community.
“We make an effort to support the local community and I think that translates into a better customer experience by listening to what people need,” he said.
“Being our 90th year we want to have a big focus on giving back to our members and local community. We should be doing a reasonable celebration sometime this year.”
Mr Sach arranges all Agsafe training for himself and two staff members and works closely with an Agsafe facilitator during store assessments.
He said he recently worked with Agsafe’s Queensland Facilitator Alan Porter on a new pallet racking system. Alan retired from his role at Agsafe last December.
“We had to meet the weight specifications because we had some old historical pallet racking that was in need of change,” Mr Sach said.
“A lot of this award should go to Alan for putting all these things in front of us!”
Mr Sach said the new pallet racking system has also improved the look of the store and helped with staff morale.
“We used to have some of the fertiliser stacked on top when there was shortage of room. Now we’ve got more efficient use of space and it’s given a better look to the store. Staff now prefer working in the area,” he said.
Mr Sach said Mr Porter was also helpful in finding a new dangerous goods carrier to deliver products to their customers.
“One of the big challenges in the last year has been the number of dangerous goods carriers that have either gone out of business or given it away,” he said.
“I contacted Alan on how to maintain the service and he certainly helped us out there.”
Mr Porter said the Fruit Growers Co-Op would be his last Agsafe Achievers Award nomination. He said he was impressed with the new pallet racking which was designed to suit the shed.
“The new system is sufficient to hold the masses imposed and is structurally sound,” he said. “The improvement ensures the business is complying with the right WHS regulations and staff are safe when using it.”
Mr Sach said there’s more to Agsafe than just passing a course or store assessment.
“At the training courses you get a sense of different ideas and different ways of doing things from other people in the industry,” he said.
“You can be compliant but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way of being compliant.”