Sheep producers capitalising on genetics have seen good increases in the size, weight and the amount of wool cut off rams particularly British bred rams, with some weighing 100 kilograms or more.
The heavier ram weights, together with a good season increasing weight further, are causing some injuries for shearers.
Shearing contractors are seeing an increase in workers compensation claims being lodged for shoulder and back injuries as result of handling these bigger sheep.
“Shearing contractors are asking farmers to hold sheep off food and water for a longer period,” WA Shearing Industry Association Chairman Darren Spencer said.
“Every time we send a team out to shear these large rams and British Breed Stud ewes, we hold our breath that nobody gets injured.”
WAFarmers encourage wool growers to check with their insurers to make sure their policies cover all potential risks that may occur during a shearing season, which may result in workplace injuries and claims. These risks could include statutory liability which is not covered by a public liability policy.
Please be aware that using a contractor does not remove the responsibility of the farmer to provide safe working conditions under relevant State and Federal Occupational Health and Safety laws.
If you are unsure about what policies are available to you there are organisations like FarmSafe WA Alliance that can provide advice or put you in touch with a farm safety auditor.
WAFarmers is aware of these issues but would like to hear from wool growers who may have had some of these issues occur. Please contact Kim Haywood at WAFarmers with your feedback on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (08) 9486 2100.