LOSING her husband motivation for teaching first aid

IMPORTANT JOB: Cindy Hartwig, of Hartbeat Training, is passionate about helping farmers work safely.
IMPORTANT JOB: Cindy Hartwig, of Hartbeat Training, is passionate about helping farmers work safely. Renee Pilcher

CINDY HARTWIG is an ambassador for safety and she knows all too well the heartache of loss on the land.

Her journey from a farmer's wife to a safety advocate had a sad beginning.

"I don't want another family to go through what we went through."

"My husband was killed in a farm accident 20 years ago," Ms Hartwig said.

"It was then I decided I would help save lives.

"I don't want another family to go what we went through."

Ms Hartwig began to travel, speaking at conferences on the effects a fatality or farm accident can have on people.

She worked as a registered nurse before her husband's accident, so her medical background served her well.

It was not too long before she was approached by the National Heart Foundation to teach CPR and Ms Hartwig opened Hartbeat Training in Gympie. For many years she worked out of her own home, before moving the training centre into town, but she misses the farm.

"It was a good decision but business is hard yakka. But it does allow me to help people and use my heart," she said.

For the past 15 years, Ms Hartwig has been a busy woman.

She runs Hartbeat Training on her own, teaching CPR and first aid training, travelling dirt roads and highways to communities throughout Queensland.

She is called to schools to equip children with important safety skills and she also offers aged care training and chemical accreditation.

And Ms Hartwig's farm safety training places an emphasis on understanding occupational health and safety laws.

It is past experience which drives Ms Hartwig, especially in the agriculture sector.

She said rural occupations faced some of the greatest risks.

"Many farmers don't think it will happen to them and we didn't think it would happen to us," Ms Hartwig said.

"The majority of farmers are not as young as they once were and as we age, we react slower.

"We won't stop accidents but it's about changing a culture. The 'she'll be right culture' has to change."

Farm accidents and fatalities not only cause suffering, but there is extra financial burden, such as a loss of production payment for medical treatment, wages for replacement workers, high workers' compensation premiums and possible litigation costs.

"The objectives of the training course are to assist farmers to increase productivity through the development of knowledge and practical skills in managing risks of injury and illness associated with farm life and work," she said.

And she has message for everyone; whether you are a nurse, a farmer or a gardener.

"Take time, as hard as it is you need to, so you can make sure you are working safely," Ms Hartwig said.


High-risk jobs


 General farmhand

 Fruit, vegetable and nut farmhand


 Fishing hand

 Heavy truck driver

 Rural trainee

 Beef cattle farmer

 Forestry worker

Topics:  first aid grief heart attack