Best practice award for livestock exchange

Article image - Best practice award for livestock exchange Council identified Naracoorte Regional Livestock Exchange (NRLE) as a high-risk worksite, but after a concerted effort, many risks have been reduced or removed.

A livestock exchange owned by Naracoorte Lucindale Council in South Australia has received a Best Practices in Work Health Safety Award.

The award is recognition of the commitment to improving safety at the Council owned and operated Naracoorte Regional Livestock Exchange (NRLE) – a premier livestock selling centre in South Australia.

During the 2015/16 year there were 92,523 cattle yarded and annual throughput of 327,411 sheep.  

The Naracoorte Combined Agents sold $106,751,368 worth of cattle and $35,622,227 worth of sheep and lambs for a grand total of $142,373,595 on behalf of primary producers.

This was an increase of $14,789,162 on the 2014/15 financial year.
The NRLE was identified by Council as a high-risk worksite, but with appropriate mitigation many of these risks have been reduced or removed.  

In 2011, a major upgrade of the NRLE facility was initiated by Council, with a strong focus on safety, animal welfare and environmental sustainability.  Innovative solutions were implemented that greatly improved user safety. Infrastructure improvements that have led to improved safety include the construction of a new roof, new weighbridge and lead up yards for weighing cattle, new loading ramps for cattle, modifications to existing unloading ramps and upgrading ablution facilities.

Within each development and upgrade, steps were taken to consider the safety of users and how best to integrate these into the final construction.

Tender documents require potential contractors to demonstrate they can meet relevant Australian Standards, legislation and an evaluation of and experience in best practice within the livestock industry.  

Work healthy and safety policies and practices at the NRLE have been brought into line with the Work Health and Safety Act and Regulations 2012, through the development of a manual addressing saleyards specific issues.  

These relate not only to Council staff, but also to the agents and contractors who work on the site.  

A workshop was held with users of the NRLE which identified each activity through the livestock sale continuum and responsibilities for each user group for these activities.

As a result, responsibilities have been clearly delineated and ensure each user group has relevant procedures in place.

Continuous improvement is a strong focus with staff and other users encouraged to report hazards. As the NRLE is open 24 hours, a whiteboard has been provided so hazards can be reported after hours for staff to address.

The NRLE has not recorded any staff lost time injuries since 2011 when the major upgrade commenced.  

Staff members are provided with training in animal behaviour, manual handling and other site specific requirements.  The strong safety culture within staff, combined with the safety focus with infrastructure has kept the NRLE incident free.