20 Oct 2010

Voluntary use of tractor seatbelts supported

6:43 am on 20 October 2010

A farmer health and safety spokesperson supports the Labour Department's recommendation that farmers should wear seatbelts on tractors, but says making it compulsory may not be practical.

A coroner's report into the death of a 73-year old Wairarapa farmer who was killed earlier this year when his tractor rolled on him, said the vehicle had a roll cage but no seatbelt, which it said could have saved the man's life.

There is no legal requirement for tractors to have seatbelts, but the Labour Department is urging farmers to have them fitted if they don't already have them, and to use them.

Donald Aubrey of Federated Farmers agrees with that advice because he says a roll cage won't protect someone who is thrown from a tractor on hilly terrain.

He says the risk is high on hill country, and it would be wise in that case for farmers to fit a seatbelt to tractors.

But he says making them compulsory would be a problem for farmers who are getting on and off tractors frequently, especially when they're working on flat country.