Commitment to further lowering of on-farm accidents
While the farm toll, or the number of agricultural deaths, has fallen from 19 in 2010 to 15 in 2011, Federated Farmers is committed to reduce it still further.
‘‘Any death is a tragedy and it’s much worse when it happens at a place of work that is also the person’s home,’’ Federated Farmers health and safety spokesman David Rose said..
‘‘Federated Farmers is committed to working with the Department of Labour, ACC and with the coroner to make our members take health and safety seriously. I myself have been fronting a campaign to highlight the causes of farm accidents,’’ Mr Rose said.
‘‘While one year doesn’t make for a trend we are pleased to see four fewer deaths recorded in 2011. Yet it is the age profile where there has been marked change.
‘‘In 2010, eight of the 19 deaths came from those aged under 50, including five aged under 40. In 2011, four of the 15 deaths came from those aged under 50 with two under the age of 40; 2011 also includes the most unimaginable tragic accident involving a child.
‘‘What this means is that we have seemingly hit a brick wall involving those over the age 50.
‘‘It was 11 deaths in 2010 and it stubbornly remains 11 for the 50-plus age group in 2011,’’ he said.
‘‘We’re heartened that the safety message seems to be getting through to younger farmers. Last year, Federated Farmers launched a health and safety manual specifically designed to be relevant on-farm. This is now being used by hundreds of our members,’’ Mr Rose said.
‘‘While we’ve seemingly made a step forward there, we’re concerned that those over the age of 50 could be taking a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ approach to safety.
‘‘This is further shown by occupational quad bike fatalities on-farm.
‘‘ There were five workplace deaths involving quad bikes in in 2010 with four involving those over 50. Of the four quad bike deaths in 2011, all four involved farmers aged over 50.
‘‘Certainly, it’s something we’ll be discussing with the Department of Labour and with ACC because we need these farmers to realise their luck will eventually run out.
‘‘In terms of quad bikes we were pleased to seen an increase in sales. This reflects farmers positively investing in modern kit and better designed machines.
‘‘In 2012, Federated Farmers focus will be on additional safety features such as an audible reversing alarm made standard on all new quad bikes.
‘‘We plan to start discussions with manufacturers shortly on that and other concepts,’’ Mr Rose said.