WorkSafe New Zealand will soon introduce a major drive to reduce the number of injuries and deaths involving vehicles on farms.
According to the country’s safety regulator, almost 90 percent of farm-related fatalities involve working in, and around vehicles and machinery.
Over the next three years the agency will be focusing on reducing the risk of working in and around farm vehicles.
“Making even a small improvement in this area will have a significant impact on reducing injuries and saving lives on farm,” said Jo Pugh, Deputy General Manager Assessments.
“As part of this focus, our inspectors will be discussing safer use of vehicles with farmers during assessments. They will be asking farmers about how vehicles are used on their farms and what they are doing to ensure vehicles are not a factor for them or their workers being hurt or killed.”
The Safer Vehicles, Safer Farms programme will help encourage farmers to share their knowledge, expertise, and ideas to help create safer ways of working with vehicles and machinery.
“Engaging farmers, to tell us what works for them, will be crucial,” said Ms. Pugh.
“Farmers will know safer ways of doing jobs, which equipment is safest in different situations, and what engineering solutions are out there, that make vehicles and machinery safer.
“In addition we will be working with the sector on new and improved guidance, standards and training to help farmers make the right decisions.”
Al McCone, Sector Leader for Agriculture says farmers should always consider of their vehicle is the right one for the job.
“Operator protective devices and the use of seat belts in vehicles are two key areas farmers can reduce the likelihood of an accident occurring,” he said.
“Among front seat passengers and drivers, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45% and the risk of serious injury by 50%. People not wearing a seatbelt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash.
“While roll over protection has contributed to a decrease in fatal injuries, most of the recent tractor fatalities could have been prevented by the driver wearing the seat belt.
“This focus isn’t about telling farmers how to farm but helping them make the right decisions when using vehicles, so they can go home to their families safe and well at the end of every day.”