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Store puts Agsafe Training into action

What happens when a 1000 litre container full of toxic chemicals is speared by a forklift? That’s what the team at Growers Agrishop in WA tried to find out in a mock chemical spill.

The practical training exercise has helped them snatch-up this month’s Agsafe Achievers Award for being on the forefront of testing their Accreditation and Training skills.

Growers Agrishop General Manager David Buckley said the team wanted to find the quickest and safest way to handle the situation and test their safety skills.

“We all got together near our truck, shut the gate for an hour and tried to spear a 1000lt drum filled with water to find out the best approach to an incident like this and minimise the spill,” he said.

“We handle a lot of 1000lt drums and most of it is dangerous goods which is why we undertook the project. We’re constantly looking at new safer ways to respond in case our truck has a spill out on the highway.”

Nestled in the heart of Forrestdale, south of Perth, the store is owned by husband and wife Julian and Debra Baker, who have both been in the rural merchandise business for more than a decade.

With a team of 12, the store caters to the surrounding hobby farmers and vegetable growers around Perth.

The store was purpose built for the sale of farming equipment and agvet chemicals with the couple building an 1800sqm shed to warehouse fertiliser, chemical and other stock.

Agsafe Accreditation and Training Facilitator Bevan Henderson said he was impressed with the team’s eagerness to learn and their ability to put policies into practice, safely and securely.

“Being compliant with Safety Resource’s, Health Department and WorkSafe regulations is only part of the reason why stores are awarded the Achievers honour,” Bevan said.

“Store teams also need enthusiasm and love what they do, and the guys at Growers Agrishop show that.”

David said everyone working in the store has a high focus on OH&S from the training provided by Agsafe.

“All the chemicals are stored based on their DG Classes. We tend to keep herbicides, insecticides and fungicides in their separate groups,” he said.

“If we send out an herbicide product that looks a bit like a fungicide product and the grower doesn’t check and used it, we quickly kill $100,000- $300,000 worth of crop. We have heard first hand of this happening before.”

Along with their practical testing, the team have also put in place their own safety audit system that the entire staff can use.

“We’ve created a shared Excel document that anyone can look at it. If someone notices a safety concern, we record it and assign someone to deal with it by a certain date,” David said.

“Everyone is looking at the safety document and everyone can see what sort of improvements we’re working on. We’re all about continuous improvement. It doesn’t matter how well you’re doing something, you should always be looking at ways to improve it.”

The Agsafe Accreditation and Training program is an industry initiative that assists agvet chemical businesses to comply with government regulations and industry standards.