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Norco Co-op Kempsey wins award

Norco Co-op in West Kempsey in NSW has taken out this month’s Agsafe Achievers Award after solving their forklift and pallet racking issues.

The business services the local beef, dairy and hobby farm market. They took out the March Achievers Award for reducing manual handling and access issues after recent improvements to the premises.

Store Manager Bret Baldwin said working in a building that was built in pre forklift days has posed a few health and safety challenges.

“It’s owned by state rail and is right along the railway line here. The rail siding was utilized to unload product straight off the trains and hadn’t changed when I came 15 years ago.”

Mr Baldwin said they’ve invested into making safety improvements around the store and warehouses with the help of Agsafe.

“We’ve been very fortunate in the last couple of years to have a bit of money to spend on the premises,” he said.

“The new floor has reduced manual handling by about 25% across the business. It’s just made life so much easier to function in this little space.”

“You don’t have guys lifting bags and moving things around.”

Mr Baldwin said he sought Agsafe Facilitator Phil Tucker’s advice on a lot of new safety features in the store.

“Agsafe gives us some guidelines to where we are meant to be in terms of being a safe work zone,” he said.

“As much as it gives me a shudder and a shake every time Mr Phil Tucker gives me a ring, it’s quite a painless operation and it does make you look at your own premises to see what needs to be done.”

Mr Tucker said the team at Norco West Kempsey have done all the right things in terms of getting an old site up to standard.

“The replacement concrete floor at ground level and the installation of new pallet racking has increased forklift access. This has resulted in better stock management and obviously less manual handling. An excellent initiative,” he said.

Mr Baldwin said Agsafe training has also helped his team be on the look-out for future problems.

“The one thing I take away from training is being vigilant in the workplace,” he said.  “To look for problem areas and get them fixed.”

Photo: Brett Morrison, Tim Cooper, Graeme Dyet and Bret Baldwin from Norco Rural