19 Jul 2017

'Get on and do it' culture contributing to farm accidents

3:20 pm on 19 July 2017

The high injury rate among farm workers has prompted a call for them to be more involved in health and safety decisions on the farm.

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Photo: 123rf.com

WorkSafe New Zealand's farm sector analysis of injuries between April 2012 and March 2015 shows that for every 1000 employees, 20 suffered an injury requiring more than a week off.

For every 1000 employees in dairying 28 were injured, compared with 18 in sheep and beef, and 30 per 1000 in the shearing industry.

The sector leader for WorkSafe, Al McCone, said the figures were a result of the culture that has crept into the agricultural sector.

"It's getting on and doing stuff without considering the implications of what you're doing and not thinking about the way things are being done and whether they can be done more safely," he said.

Mr McCone said it was also about bettering the communication between farm owners or managers and their workers.

"In agriculture, quite often there is little communication between people about the risks and how to manage them. There's an expectation on the part of the business owner or person in charge, that they understand the risk, so everyone else understands the risk.

That's why you get situation that workers have a higher rate of injury than business owners do. So it's a question of, how do you engage all workers in the management of risks?"