Farm Health and Safety needs to be addressed

By Kara Lok

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Agriculture's workplace health and safety record is not up to scratch. Too many people are being injured and dying on our farms. Federated Farmers believes it is time the sector took some responsibility and worked with the government to address the problem.

The Strategic Review of the Workplace Health and Safety System, launched in June, is one of the ways we can do this. An independent taskforce is looking at New Zealand's health and safety system. It is reviewing the legislation, regulation, incentives and enforcement measures in the hope of reducing the number of work-related accidents and fatalities.

Agriculture has the highest number of work-related fatalities out of the sectors identified as high risk; manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and construction. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's (MBIE) latest statistics show last year there were 15 work related deaths in agriculture. This compares to three workplace fatalities in manufacturing, four in construction and three in forestry.

The statistics are not good enough, especially when compared with the number of work related fatalities occurring overseas. Every farmer needs to be proactive and have a simple health and safety plan in place on their farm.

It is not difficult to have an up-to-date plan. In May last year, Federated Farmers developed a simple Occupational Health and Safety Manual which is available to members and non-members. The manual provides a step-by-step process to implementing a health and safety plan on farms and includes hazard and accident registers. To purchase Federated Farmers Occupational Health and Safety Manual, phone Federated Farmers customer service team on 0800 327 646.

The last thing Federated Farmers wants is for the Government to place more regulation and compliance costs on farmers.

By working with the taskforce and putting together a submission on the review, we can come up with an improved workplace health and safety approach which addresses the unique challenges agriculture faces.

The Federation will make a submission on the review. Submissions closed last month.

- Hamilton News

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