The dairy industry has been revealed as the most dangerous sector in which to work in the Bay of Plenty, responsible for the highest number of injury claims to the Accident Compensation Corporation in 2014.

A total of $8,843,566 was paid out to injured Bay workers last year, with most of it going to farmers, truckies, tradespeople and kiwifruit growers.

People injured while working in the dairy cattle industry received $2,826,335 from ACC for injuries, with 389 new claims made for soft-tissue injuries such as contusions and strains, the most common cause of complaint.

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ACC data shows the pastoral livestock sector has one of the highest severe injury rates per 1000 workers nationally. Figures released to the Bay of Plenty Times showed Bay claims were most commonly caused by "puncture" incidents, followed by lifting, carrying, or straining, followed by incidents of collision or being knocked over by an object.

Te Puke dairy farmer and former Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty vice-president John Scrimgeour said there was an enormous variety of task that farmers undertook when running a farm, and each had its own hazards.

"Working with animals is a little bit unpredictable. They are not like machines and they don't necessarily do what you expect them to.

"And then there are always more serious injuries involving heavier machines like tractors."

Mr Scrimgeour said farmers had to stay alert and get enough rest, as many injuries on farms were preventable.

Mr Scrimgeour broke his thumb in an accident toward the end of a work day a couple of years ago. "I had a loose plate on a pump and I went to move it without stopping the pump, so I jammed my thumb. It was a stupid thing to do. I should never have done it but it was that time of day and my mind was on getting home for dinner."

Mr Scrimgeour spent weeks in physio after the accident.

WorkSafe New Zealand's agriculture programme manager Al McCone said the sector "has a history of wresting a living through innovation 'number 8 wire mentality', long hours and minimum staff numbers".


"All of these things combine into a potent mixture of risk which needs to be managed."

Bay of Plenty truckies suffered the second highest number of injuries, contributing to a claims bill of $2,177,991.

Again, soft-tissue injuries were the most common injury in the road freight transport industry, with 244 new claims made last year. Most of these, 70, were caused by lifting, carrying or straining, while ACC recorded 39 causes of injury resulting from twisting movement or 32 involving loss of balance or personal control.

Derek Dumbar, executive on the Road Transport Association for the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Thames Valley area, said it was worth noting there were a lot of road transport firms based in the Bay of Plenty.

However, the claims cost was still significant, as none of it included injuries sustained while truckies were on the road, he said.

Claims made by truck drivers injured from motor vehicle accidents were not included in the statistics. This money is provided from a different Government account. Mr Dumbar said truckies often injured themselves while picking up and dropping off deliveries.

"It's lifting, performing tasks to make loads secure on customer sites," he said.

Truck drivers were made vulnerable when on other people's sites picking up or dropping off loads, as they were reliant on the site operator to ensure their site was work safe. Sometimes this was not the case, Mr Dumbar said.

Claims made by tradespeople working in housing construction reached $1,078,507, making the industry the third most expensive in ACC payouts in the region. Kiwifruit workers created a $822,363 bill for injury claims, followed by people working in hospitals (except psychiatric hospitals), which resulted in claims costing $656,353.