Farmers need to up safety systems
Lackadaisical attitude too common
Federated Farmers hopes the Safer Farms campaign will provide an impetus to getting farmer attention on farm safety.
Federated Farmers Health and Safety spokeswoman Katie Milne says the rate of accidents on New Zealand farms is far too high.
‘‘Farmers work in an intrinsically dangerous outdoors environment.
‘‘ There are natural large animals and machinery,’’ she said.
‘‘But too many farmers just take that risk for granted and don’t do much or anything to reduce that hazards, powerful risk. We have a bad culture towards our safety in this country. I hope that Safer Farms’ information and help with actual farm situations will have farmers taking it on board and reducing the number of farmers and their workers being injured or killed on farm.’’
Milne said an approach of identifying hazards across the farm and how to deal with them is a major step forward.
‘‘I’m pleased we are hopefully getting away from what has almost become an obsession about helmets on quad bikes and the thinking that wearing one means your safety worries are all sorted,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s not just quad even machinery.
‘‘Farm animals are dangerous. Just because they don’t have sharp teeth to eat you, doesn’t mean they can’t knock you about.
nor WorkSafe figures show there are more than 1300 dairy animal and very nearly as many sheep and beef injuries a year from animal contact. We can do things about that.
‘‘The real key to getting farm accident rates down is to systematically identify where the risks are, in particular places and the way you do things. You then can do something to make these things or places safer, like con- sciously deciding never taking a vehicle there. Then you make sure that you don’t lapse back into the old habits.’’
Milne said Federated Farmers will be working together with WorkSafe to co-ordinate on-farm workshops in different parts of the country during the next few months.
‘‘The idea is for WorkSafe to help farmers in a practical way. I see it as a two-way education programme. WorkSafe people are experts in safety and farmers are experts in farming. We need to learn from each other.’’