Farm deaths and in­juries in­creased last year

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

Last year was a ‘‘ bit­terly dis­ap­point­ing’’ year for farm­ers, with the num­ber of farm deaths nearly dou­bling to 17 and a 15 per cent in­crease in se­ri­ous in­ci­dents, Fed­er­ated Farm­ers said.

Depart­ment of Labour statis­tics show there were 17 deaths in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor in 2010, up from nine in 2009. As well, there were 312 se­ri­ous in­ci­dents on farms, up 15 per cent on 2009.

‘‘ To say it’s bit­terly dis­ap­point­ing is an un­der­state­ment,’’ Fed­er­ated Farm­ers health and safety spokesman Don­ald Aubrey said.

How­ever, all ter­rain ve­hi­cle safety had a more pos­i­tive year, with a 13 per cent de­cline in se­ri­ous in­juries.

There were five farm-re­lated all ter­rain ve­hi­cle deaths last year, the same num­ber as in 2009 but the num­ber of in­juries was down from 59 to 51.

‘‘It’s bit­ter­sweet for Fed­er­ated Farm­ers that in the midst of a bad year for over­all farm safety, we’re see­ing some pos­i­tive signs for ATV safety,’’ Mr Aubrey said.

‘‘It un­der­scores the need for the safety mes­sage to go to a wider au­di­ence, es­pe­cially to recre­ational and ca­sual users of these bikes,’’ he said.

About 120 peo­ple were killed on ATVs in the past 10 years and a re­cent corner’s re­port high­lighted safety con­cerns.

Welling­ton coro­ner Ian Smith rec­om­mended the depart­ment im­me­di­ately in­ves­ti­gate the manda­tory use of hel­mets, roll bars and lap belts on quad bikes.

Mr Aubrey said Fed­er­ated Farm­ers and the Agri­cul­tural Health and Safety Coun­cil would work with coroners, the depart­ment and ACC this year on work­able safety so­lu­tions which would help bring statis­tics down.

Full rollover pro­tec­tion and har­nesses were not a so­lu­tion for the farm en­vi­ron­ment, he said.

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