Farm deaths and injuries increased last year
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.