Now that the Easter and ANZAC break has come and gone, we are now entering one of the extremely busy times of the year with seeding knocking at the door.

One of the most important things to consider looking after, during this time, is our most valuable resource, "US"!

Because of this time pressure we can sometimes take short cuts, and if we take short cuts regarding our wellbeing it can increase our risk factors dramatically. It is a time when accidents can happen, relationships come under pressure and our physical health is ignored.

Risk Taking!

What blokes in particular don't do well is consider the consequences of risk taking. It won't happen to me! Consequences are something we must live with, so in your seeding preparation limit your personal risk, and if what you're planning is an overstretch, reconsider your options.

Wellbeing Guidelines

In addition to the usual seeding preparations perhaps we should follow the lead of other industries, such as mining and construction, where clear guidelines on safe parameters for work have been implemented.

Some things to reflect on when considering your wellbeing include:

  • Well briefed work crew;  (often our partner and family) Keep those working with you briefed on daily activities, unfortunately with farming this doesn't happen as well as it could which often leads to unnecessary disputes and increased tension and frustration.
  • Fatigue management; limiting your working time to no more than 14 hours in a 24 hour period. Seeding might be over a relatively short period but this work strategy should not be compromised. The only solution to fatigue is taking a break and SLEEPING. Getting off the tractor and doing other jobs is not good enough, you need to sleep.
  • Factored in regular breaks; this also reduces the impact of fatigue and increases our capacity to beat boredom, which often leads to expensive mistakes and machine damage.
  • Pre start exercises; I would be surprised if many farmers begin a shift with some limbering up exercises. It is a known fact that this type of start to the day significantly reduces muscle injuries.
  • Suitable dietary needs; how often are you eating and what are are you snacking on? It is not just about good meals it is also about good snacks that are nutritious and correctly timed. A good meal is very beneficial at the beginning of a shift and a light meal at the end is beneficial in helping to promote good sleep.
  • Adequate sleep; for most people this is about seven to eight hours in every twenty four hour cycle. It is not possible to reduce this and still function properly. Remember this is "sleep" not just being in bed!

Seeding is hectic, a controlled and planned approach will pay dividends.

Enjoy seeding, it is a great time. If we look after ourselves most other things will fall into place.

Owen and the Team
The Regional Men's Health Initiative