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Geraldton store takes out top WHS award

Elders Geraldton Store in WA has taken out this year’s first Agsafe Achievers Award.

The team at Geraldton were awarded the honour after proving their commitment to being up-to-date with their WHS responsibilities, especially when it comes to transporting dangerous goods.

The business has been catering to the region’s broad acre farmers with agvet chemicals making up a large part of their merchandise.

The team’s combined 40+ years’ worth of experience has helped the business become a shining light for WHS managers around the country.

Merchandise Manager Garry Hamersley said Agsafe training helped keep his customers informed of their obligations when purchasing and handling chemicals.

“Farmers now are very much focused on making sure they’ve got an Emergency Procedures Guide when they leave,” he said.

“Any information that comes from Agsafe we try and look at that and how we can put it into our systems.”

Mr Hamersley said they’ve been trialling new policies to keep in line with new state-government regulations around transporting dangerous chemicals.

“We’re currently upgrading all our policies on transport and making sure we’ve got all the MSDSs available,” he said.

“Even when we’re returning empty drums, whether we’re transporting them ourselves or we’ve employed transport companies, we’ve got the MSDSs available.

“The laws don’t come into effect until March, but we’ve been giving it a run now to make sure it all works.”

Agsafe Western Australia Facilitator Bevan Henderson said Mr Hamersley’s enthusiasm has helped the team snatch the Achievers Award.

“I worked with Garry to not only improve safety systems across the board in the premises but also develop the EPG for customers,” Mr Henderson said.

“Elders Geraldton are also very supportive of drumMUSTER, where Garry helped set up a site at Mullewa which is now run by the local Lions Club.”

Mr Hamersley said Agsafe’s most valuable lessons came from knowing just how potentially dangerous agvet chemicals can be.

“You can’t always eliminate every accident but just being aware of it is important,” he said. “I’ve been trying to impart that on the staff and farmers.”

“Because there’s a fair few change-overs of staff in some locations, I think people tend to get a bit flippant. I tend to help people remain focussed on OHS and Agsafe updates and I’m fairly passionate about it.”

Photo:  Garry Hamersley, Bryan Wheeldon and Craig Bassett