Bernard's Blog: 11 Feb 19

Bernard Saundry
11 February 2019

Here’s the first of my blog posts addressing key topics around our industry.

Last week I saw an impressive interview on Breakfast TV with Worksafe NZ CEO Nicole Rosie talking about the shocking statistics around farming fatalities – 16 in 2018; 6 in the past two months; and two this week.

She really struck a chord with me when she talked about the need for farmers to stand up for their sector and own the risks they face daily. It is the same approach we need to take when it comes to our own industry.

Sure, we have rules and regulations, but they are blunt instruments, it is our individual actions and behaviours which make the difference. Those things which should be second nature, but sometimes we let slide, are the key to controlling the risks involved in working with and being around horses.

Most licence holders are aware of their health and safety obligations and are diligent in ensuring they and, in the case of trainers, their staff and visitors remain safe in the workplace. They understand that while racing might pre-date the use of the safety gear we have at our disposal today the industry is infinitely safer.

As is the case with most safety gear though, the key is ensuring it is well maintained and used appropriately and as intended. Sadly, we have recently witnessed serious injuries being recorded in cases where processes were not followed.

While talking about farmers taking leadership when it came to their industry’s safety record Ms Rosie stated it was not about compliance but about common sense. And I would like to think the same would apply in our industry. 

The absence of common sense can result in accidents, often with tragic implications. I would like to think we could do better.

I will be out and about around the regions shortly visiting clubs and listening to their feedback around the recently released NZTR Venue Plan. I encourage as many of you as possible to get along and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas on the future of Racing in your region.

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