New ACC campaign to prevent on farm accidents

Issue 34 – December 2011

A work injury can end a farmer's days on the land, so ACC has teamed up with Federated Farmers to launch a new campaign to raise awareness of the human causes of accidents.

Every 28 minutes, a New Zealand farmer is injured on the job and every 23 days, a farmer dies from a work-related accident. To understand the factors that lead to injuries on farms, ACC has been carrying out field a research programme called 'Human factors in farming'. The programme involves reviewing near miss situations and accidents to see what can be learned about them and shared with others, to prevent them happening again and potentially being more serious next time.

Case studies based on these preventable accidents will be published in rural publications between November and February 2012. Federated Farmers National Board Member, and health and safety spokesperson, David Rose, will also be talking on rural radio shows about the factors that lead to on-farm accidents. 'We want farmers to look at how they can be safer at work by reflecting on actual accidents and make simple changes that will help prevent accidents on their farm,' says Rose.

To help farmers learn from preventable accidents they can request a 'Human factors in farming review', which is a free service run by FarmSafe and AsureQuality on behalf of ACC. As part of the programme, rural advisors confidentially review near-misses or accidents with the farmer involved. After visiting the farm and talking with the farmer, the rural advisors then send the farmer a report. The report breaks down the incident and highlights the key factors that contributed to the accident or near-miss situation. Recommendations are provided to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future.

'Our research has shown that tiredness, time pressures, poor maintenance of equipment, or bad choices were common factors in preventable accidents,' says ACC General Manager Insurance and Prevention Services Keith McLea. 'Taking the time to plan ahead, to maintain your equipment, to drive your quad bike around the long way instead of straight up the hill in extreme weather, or leaving that irritable cow for another day are all good choices that could prevent an injury, as well as save you time and money in the long run.'

Summarised from an ACC media release 14 November 2011.

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