17 Jan 2011

Rise in farm deaths, accidents

2:30 pm on 17 January 2011

The number of people killed on farms in 2010 almost doubled compared with the previous year, while serious accidents went up by 15%.

Last year, 17 people were killed working on farms, compared with nine in 2009, and 312 were seriously hurt.

An Otago University senior researcher of farm accidents, Kirsten Lovelock, says the rise of dairy farming has lead to a shortage of labour which is being filled by workers from overseas.

She says those people do not have experience working with large numbers of animals and equipment like tractors and quad bikes, which inevitably leads to accidents.

Federated Farmers health and safety spokesperson Donald Aubrey says the statistics are disappointing, though he says a campaign for safer use of quad bikes has had results, with a 13% reduction in serious injuries.