In mid-November the Forest Industry Safety and Training Committee (a collaboration of FIFWA membership and the Forest Products Commission) organised two Talking Safety Forums. The topic was one that impacts us all – fatigue. The forums provided opportunities for industry and the general public to gather and discuss issues related to workplace health and safety, and workforce development. The forums were generously sponsored by companies from the Great Southern and the South West.
Nearly 200 people attended each event, one in Albany and one in Manjimup. Feedback from the events has been encouraging and the next time the forums are likely to be held in Bunbury also. Members and non-members alike commented that they will never forget the stories they heard that day, and they were motivated to make changes in their own workplaces.
We are very grateful for Steve, Drew and Alan's time. It was a privilege to hear their stories first hand.
In case the images are hard to read, below are the short biographies for our guest speakers.
Managing Director, Tabeel Trading, Mt Gambier SA
Steve was born and raised in the Gippsland Latrobe Valley region in Victoria initially working in a farming environment and then completing a plumbing trade in 1982. However, it soon became clear that his passion and interest was in machinery which brought him to Mt Gambier in 1984. He began manual felling and haulage of the burnt timber with his first truck and founded the family company, Tabeel Trading.
After working with a manual chainsaw for 12 months he felt there must be a better way and mechanisation began its early days. The innovation of harvesting and chipping equipment saw many changes in the 80s and 90s with Steve always ready to change and adapt for better outcomes which is shown today with the use of the most up-to-date equipment and technology within the company. Today he is most proud of his 7 children and 3 grandchildren and knows how important families are in people’s makeup and support.
Starting from nothing in 1984, Tabeel Trading now employs 138 people with harvest and haulage services in hardwood and softwood plantations. The company is currently contracted for 1.125 million tonnes within the Mt Gambier and South West Victoria regions. He still also has agricultural interests in cattle and sheep production on the family property in Mt Gambier.
Steve will be speaking about the accident that took the lives of 4 employees in November 2016 and the impact this had on the company, its employees, the industry and himself. He will also talk about the changes to the forestry industry that have resulted from this accident and the changes that have been implemented within the company to hopefully prevent this tragedy from happening again.
Professor Drew Dawson
Director, Appleton Institute at Central Queensland University
Professor Drew Dawson is an internationally acclaimed sleep scientist who is recognised for his work in the areas of sleep and fatigue research, organisational psychology and human behaviour, industrial relations negotiations, and the human implications of hours of work.
Drew has worked extensively with the aviation, manufacturing, retail, entertainment, transportation and mining sectors in Australia, and is a world-renowned expert on fatigue in the workplace. He has instigated fatigue management programs, developed shift work and fatigue policy, undertaken pre-employment assessments, and facilitated shift work education sessions.
He also regularly presents at national and international conferences and has provided expert witness testimony in many fatigue related court cases. As director of the internationally recognised Appleton Institute, Drew oversees basic and applied research into the effects of shift work and sleep loss on the health and well-being of employees.
Grain Grower, Beverley WA
Beverley grain grower and Green Shirts Movement representative, Alan Sattler was in a life-changing car accident brought on by fatigue. He sustained a dislocated hip, fractured his hip socket, fractured his pelvis, broke some ribs and a couple of vertebrae, and spent 12 weeks learning how to walk again.
He is a passionate advocate for spreading the word and highlighting risks associated with workplace fatigue, burning the candle at both ends and pushing the limits with regards one’s health and wellbeing.
Having experienced this life-changing accident he speaks about the dangers of depression, excessive drinking and how it can all combine with potential, horrific consequences to your life, family, friends and community.