24 Dec 2015

Farmers urged to keep an eye on the kids

8:25 pm on 24 December 2015

With Kiwi kids out on school holidays, WorkSafe New Zealand is urging farmers to focus on keeping kids safe on farms.

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Photo: 123rf.com

WorkSafe agriculture programme manager Al McCone said summer holidays on the farm were a special kiwi experience, and child carers can continue this tradition by taking a few precautions.

Mr McCone said the sad fact was that 23 children aged between one and 15 have died in work-related farm accidents since 2000, and eight of those died in either the month of December or January.

"The challenges farmers faces is much the same as the challenges any parent faces in day to day interaction with kids. It's just that on a farm the farm is a workplace as well as a home and so for the farmer if they are involved in normal everyday activities sometimes it is easy to forget that the child is present on the farm.

"In the period between 2004 and 2014 there are around 15,000 accidents involving children under the age of 15 on farms.

"What we are more worried about are the more serious accidents that happen because of the workplace - that is the farm. And that's things like chemicals, kids loving to play around heavy machinery and perhaps the operator is not aware they are there, parents getting caught up in a task and forgetting the younger children are there and suddenly its a bit too late."