Improving farm safety through worker engagement

Wednesday, 12 July, 2017

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Farm workers are at a higher risk of injury than self-employed people, according to analysis by WorkSafe New Zealand.

Data from 2012–2015 suggests that for every 1000 employees in the agricultural sector, 20 suffered an injury requiring more than a week off work.

This compared with 12 out of every 1000 self-employed individuals.

WorkSafe’s agriculture sector lead, Al McCone, said the data underlined the importance of farmers talking with everyone who works on the farm, including employees, contractors and family, to ensure they are aware of risks on the farm and the best ways to manage those risks.

“A simple way to positively change the culture is to get workers more involved with farm decisions around health and safety,” he said.

“It’s the workers who are out there in the paddock or shed seeing first-hand what the conditions and potential risks are.

“This isn’t a one-off thing. It’s a good idea for farmers to have regular conversations with everyone on the farm about this. Risks such as handling large animals, visiting vehicles and large machinery will always be there, and need to be continually reassessed and addressed.

“Then there are risks that change daily due to variables such as weather conditions or different seasonal work. It might have been safe to take the farm bike up that hill yesterday when it was dry, but it may not be today if the grass is wet,” said McCone.

For more information, visit the Safer Farms website.

Image credit: © Ilic

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