Farmers targeted for summer safety


Farmers are being warned to keep themselves safe this summer - a time when more fatal accidents can occur.

Since Christmas Day there has already been one death as well as several injuries relating to quad bike accidents on farms.

Research shows that longer daylight hours can lead to an apparent increase in workplace deaths, with accidents more likely to happen when people work longer hours and become physically exhausted.

With agriculture having one of the highest levels of workplace injury, disease and fatalities, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment wants farmers to stop and think about their safety before they step outside this summer.

"Stress and fatigue are big issues to consider on the farm at this time of year," says the ministry's health and safety operations general manager Ona de Rooy.

"Farmers and their workers are likely to take advantage of daylight saving, and so they must understand and be aware of the triggers and signs of stress and fatigue and manage them appropriately.

"It can be as easy as forgetting to check the quad bike before you head out or making a small mistake when moving livestock because you're too tired. These can all lead to fatal consequences."

Ms de Rooy said they would like to see farmers make safety a priority in 2013.

As part of the ministry's drive to reduce death, injury and illness in agriculture, the Agriculture Action Plan was launched in 2012.

As well as this, the ministry's Quad Bike Safety campaign is continuing into 2013.

"Farmers can expect to see our inspectors this year. They'll be dropping by to check on how quad bikes are being used - and where safety issues are identified there will be penalties."

"If we are to see a noticeable reduction in the number of farmers and their workers being harmed at work we must all work together to put safety first this summer."

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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