Work in­juries at 1 in 10

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

Some peo­ple para­chute jump from great heights with­out a scratch – oth­ers go farm­ing or fish­ing, of­ten with painful and some­times deadly re­sults.

Sprains and strains are the stand­out cause of work-re­lated in­jury claims to the Ac­ci­dent Com­pen­sa­tion Cor­po­ra­tion, at 44 per cent of the to­tal, fol­lowed by cuts at 15 per cent.

And the most risky sec­tors to work in are fish­ing and farm­ing, with claim rates at more than dou­ble the na­tional av­er­age. And in those sec­tors it is al­most al­ways men with 79 per cent of claims.

The agri­cul­ture, forestry and fish­ing sec­tor suf­fered 15 deaths last year lead­ing to ACC claims, the high­est of any sec­tor.

A Fed­er­ated Farm­ers spokesman said farm­ing was an ‘‘ex­treme’’ oc­cu­pa­tion with peo­ple of­ten out in bad weather deal­ing with livestock, when most peo­ple were safely inside.

Com­mer­cial fish­ing is one of the most dan­ger­ous jobs. More than 7 per cent of the 7000 work­ers are injured each year – nearly twice the per­cent­age for the near­est sec­tor (min­ing and quar­ry­ing).

Be­tween 2001 and 2011, 33 fish­er­men were killed do­ing their job.

Ear­lier this year, the fish­ing in­dus­try brought in a new ac­tion plan to re­duce in­juries and deaths in the sec­tor.

Over­all, about one in 10 work­ers suf­fered an in­jury at work last year that led to an ACC claim, ac­cord­ing to Sta­tis­tics New Zealand.

But the over­all level of claims has been steadily fall­ing in the past decade. In 2002, there were 143 claims for ev­ery 1000 work­ers. In 2011 it was down to 97 for ev­ery 1000 full­time equiv­a­lent work­ers.

A health and safety co-or­di­na­tor for the EPMU, Fritz Driss­ner, said the union wel­comed any drop in ac­ci­dent rates, but some sec­tors such as man­u­fac­tur­ing had been in de­cline with fewer jobs, which may ex­plain some of the trend to lower claims.

A lot of em­ploy­ers also tried to pre­vent claims rather than in­juries, by en­cour­ag­ing work­ers to say their ac­ci­dent hap­pened at home.

‘‘Work­ers are en­cour­aged not to re­port them as work in­juries,’’ he said, and faced grief from the boss if they did.

Driss­ner said em­ploy­ers were try­ing to keep down their ACC levies, but tax­pay­ers footed the bill.

He ad­mit­ted the ev­i­dence was only anec­do­tal – no­body wanted to ad­mit to ly­ing to their doc­tor.

Nel­son Mail

CLAIMS: Agri­cul­ture and fish­ery work­ers made the most claims last year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.