Farm health and safety systems identify risks and hazards | Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Farm health and safety systems identify risks and hazards

A recent court ruling has highlighted the need for farmers to identify and manage the risks on their properties and have a health and safety system in place.
Wednesday, 31 October 2018

A Northland farmer was ordered to pay a $70,000 fine and $130,000 in reparation following an accident on his farm which resulted in the death of a worker.

A WorkSafe investigation found there were systemic failures by the farmer to carry out a risk assessment of the entire farm and the work that is carried out on it.

WorkSafe’s Head of Specialist Interventions Simon Humphries says health and safety systems help employers identify the risks that might kill or seriously injure people living and working on a farm.

“It’s not about adding paperwork or having more work to do.  It’s about incorporating it in what you do every day and ensuring that everyone can head home healthy and safe at the end of it.”

“The failures on behalf of the duty holder showed a general lack of engagement in health and safety matters. There were shortcomings throughout the operation and this is a tragic instance where these failures have been realised.”

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s chairman Andrew Morrison says this very sad case reinforces the importance of ensuring farms are safe and healthy workplaces for everyone.

He says, as a farmer, he does feel vulnerable when dealing with the issue of health and safety on-farm but says B+LNZ has provided some great tools to help the thought processes in identifying and managing risk.

B+LNZ has been providing Farm Safety Management Systems and running Farm Safety Management workshops throughout the country since 2016 and these have proved to be very popular.

“They take a very pragmatic approach to health and safety and rather than focusing on the rules and regulations, they highlight what practices farmers can easily incorporate in their day-to-day work to minimise the risks of accidents happening.”

“Most importantly, they make farmers aware of the hazards on their farm – many of which they may take for granted – and gets them thinking about how they protect themselves, their families and staff from injury.”

He says even strains and sprains can limit people’s ability to work and more serious injury can have a huge and sometimes on-going impact on the victim, their families, friends and the business.

Andrew says when he and his wife Lisa were putting a health and safety plan together for their farm, they enlisted the help of a neighbour to identify the risks and hazards.

“Having a fresh pair of eyes looking over the farm was hugely valuable and made us realise that what we take for granted could be a hazard for anyone not familiar with the farm.

“It certainly made us more aware of taking the time to do a job properly – and with the right equipment – rather than try and take short-cuts.”

Andrew adds that they are investing more time in vehicle and equipment maintenance and ensuring that everyone coming onto the farm is aware of the health and safety protocols they have in place.  

“We want everyone to enjoy being on our farms as much as we do and then return home at night injury free. Health and safety is an integral part of our business culture.”

B+LNZ run Farm Safety Management Workshops throughout the country. Look in Events on the B+LNZ website for one in your region or contact your local B+LNZ extension manager to request one.

For more information about Health and Safety go to: