11 Nov 2016

Champion shearer warns of injuries

10:44 am on 11 November 2016

Shearing legend Sir David Fagan has teamed up with WorkSafe to get farmers and shearers looking out for risks on the job.

Sir David Fagan

Sir David Fagan Photo: Photosport

The champion shearer retired last year after 33 years as an open-class shearer, winning 640 finals worldwide, 16 national champion titles, five individual world championships and seven world team championships.

Last year 129 people were severely injured on the job, according to WorkSafe.

Sir David said both shearers and farmers need to be careful.

"From a farmer's point of view, with health and safety now the way it is, the farm track or road coming into the woolshed is really important. We've had incidents where vans can't get in safely - particularly on some of the hill country.

He said taking time to check the shed and equipment was also crucial.

"One of the main things in the shed itself is the steps and walking up to the shed, the equipment in the shed mainly the shearing plant itself - some of it is getting very old.

The most common accident in a shearing shed involved a lock-up of the shearing equipment, he said.

"Shearers get injured with cutting or the handpiece flying around and hitting and injuring your arm.

"If farmers are looking at upgrading the shearing plant they should make sure the plant has a safety cut out or sensor so if there is a lock-up the machine just stops so no one gets injured.

"The wool press is also a classic - always a risk there."

Famers should also make sure their sheep have fasted before shearing because a full animal is heavier and more awkward to handle, making it easier for shearers to hurt themselves, he said.

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