Farm­ers need to up safety sys­tems

Lack­adaisi­cal at­ti­tude too com­mon

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

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.

bikes,

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.’’

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