Former nurse tells how her neighbour’s life was in her hands

Be prepared – that’s the message a life-saving nurse wants you to adopt if you work on the land or in isolated areas across the state. It’s also why she has joined Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s team of Safety Advocates, Head of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland Tony James said.

Be prepared – that’s the message a life-saving nurse wants you to adopt if you work on the land or in isolated areas across the state. It’s also why she has joined Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s team of Safety Advocates, Head of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland Tony James said.

Mr James said Robyn Neilson’s experience as a first responder to her neighbour who’d suffered a horrific workplace injury on a remote cattle farm had important lessons for property owners and workers as well as those who are first on the scene.

“Her life in my hands – the Robyn Neilson story, a new film released by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland,tells of Robyn’s heroic actions when she found her neighbour with life-threatening injuries after her arms had caught in a post hole digger,” Mr James said.

“Robyn, a trained nurse, responded quickly and effectively and in the two hours before the Royal Flying Doctors Service could get to the isolated Central Queensland property, she single-handedly kept her critically injured neighbour alive.

“In the film, Robyn talks about the importance of having safe work procedures in place including an emergency plan and first aid equipment ready. The film also highlights the importance of plant safety on farms, and the need to ensure all machinery is properly guarded and only using well-designed, correct equipment for the task.”

Robyn’s story also explores her experience with post-traumatic stress disorder following the incident and highlights the importance of seeking support – or encouraging your workers to seek support – when it’s needed.

As a Safety Advocate, Robyn joins a team of otherwise ordinary Queenslanders whose lives have been dramatically impacted by a work injury, or who have lost loved ones to work injury or disease. Her message to employers and workers is very clear – you must be prepared for a serious injury to happen, and you must ensure safety is top of everyone’s mind on your property.

Robyn said while workplaces might manage safety well, isolated or potentially dangerous jobs, required extra considerations – being prepared for the worst to happen.

“Like every workplace, it’s important to follow basic safety rules like using the right machinery correctly, properly training workers, and having an evacuation plan in place. But if you are on a farm or in an isolated location, you must go that next step and be ready for if things do go wrong,” Robyn said.

“Ensure all your workers have a current first aid certificate – and get chance to practice the basics, otherwise they’ll freeze up if it actually happens.

“Everyone on your property must know the exact location – the coordinates of the nearest airstrip that’s big enough for an RFDS plane to land on.

“Likewise, they must know where the closest medical outpost and road transport emergency service are.

“And don’t overlook the simple things which can cause huge delays – leaving gates unlocked and accessible for emergency services, making sure your property is signposted and numbered, and keeping landing strips in good condition.”

Mr James said Queensland businesses could request a visit from Robyn to talk to their workers about the importance of preventing workplace injuries but also of preparing for the worst.

“Robyn will also very honestly share how exposure to traumatic workplace incidents can affect the mental health of your colleagues, first responders, and their families, and the importance of seeking support,” he said.

“We want people to stop and think about their work environment and act now to prevent a workplace incident, but also to be prepared that if one happens, you know how to respond and respond quickly and properly.

“Rural communities are great at looking out for each other but when there’s an injury or a fatality, it has a ripple effect through the whole community. It’s not just the injured person who’s affected, it’s everyone who rallies around.

“Every workplace in Queensland should add this film to their training and induction toolkit. It’s a powerful reminder to keep safety front and centre of how we do business in this state.”

View Robyn Neilson’s story.

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.