Health and safety heads-up

On average, 17 people die in farm workplace accidents every year. In addition to deaths, there are thousands of injuries that lead to a loss of productivity and income for farmers.
Thursday, 7 February 2019

Last summer, almost 550 farmers suffered injuries serious enough to require at least a week off work.

Families and rural communities as well as individuals directly affected bear the cost of these accidents on the farm. Most farmers know someone who has been injured or died as a result of an accident.

Talking about farm health and safety is never a popular topic, but we need to place the same priority on health and safety as we do with fertiliser or any input as part of on-farm business as usual activity.

Although the sector has made some progress in recent years, health and safety is an area where we can’t take our foot off the pedal.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has been investing in initiatives to support our farmers to improve health and safety on their farms.  More than 4,000 farmers have already participated in our Farm Safety Management Systems (FSMS) workshops.

B+LNZ has also been using its Event Safety Management System for all events with clear standards and expectations for facilitators and farmers, in particular, around vehicle use.

Building on what we have already been doing, working with the likes of WorkSafe New Zealand, the Agricultural Leaders’ Health and Safety Action Group, the B+LNZ Farmer Council and our health and safety partners Exigent, we’re committed to doing more.

Over the course of the next 12 months, we will be rolling out a series of additional initiatives. In response to demand from farmers, we will continue to run the existing FSMS workshops, but also develop stage two of this programme to help with on-farm implementation.

We continue to be involved with the revision of Unit standards around vehicles used on farm to ensure they are focused on operator competency.

As an industry, we all want to make sure our team come home for dinner safely at the end of every day and to do this we need to lift our game. It’s important to use the right vehicle for the right job and conditions and ensure the person operating it is competent to do so.

In the meantime, check out the Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s H&S resources on the website: https://beeflambnz.com/compliance/health-safety.

If you want to attend a workshop to help set up your farm’s safety management system, please contact us on 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 233 532) or your local Extension Manager.