Com­mit­ment to fur­ther low­er­ing of on-farm ac­ci­dents

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

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.

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