Standards support farm safety

milking shed cows

Agricultural safety is a key area for standards. These standards help farmers to prevent injury and death, improve farm safety, and protect workers and stock from harm. The broad range of agricultural safety standards covers helmets for quad bikes, electrical installations in dairy sheds, tractor safety, chainsaw safety, mobile elevating work platforms, personal protection, and managing flood risk.

Helmets for quad bikes

Many farm accidents involve quad bikes. One of the best ways to prevent injury when using a quad bike is to always wear a suitable helmet. NZS 8600:2002 All-terrain vehicle helmets provides the requirements for robust protective helmets and helps to reduce the severity of head injuries from quad bikes and all-terrain vehicles.

Electrical installations in dairy sheds

Dairy farmers strive to keep their cows healthy and contented, as this has a big influence on their milk production. However, stray voltage in dairy sheds can agitate cows and negatively affect on their milk production.

SNZ HB 6117:2014 Electrical installations in dairy sheds provides the correct electrical installation practices for new dairy sheds, to reduce the exposure of cows to stray voltage. It also includes recommendations for upgrading existing dairy sheds where there are problems with stray voltage.

Users of the handbook include electricians and electrical designers who help to build dairy sheds. It may also help farmers and farm vets to recognise when stray voltages are affecting cows.

Tractor safety

Two standards help keep farmers safe when using tractors.

AS/NZS 2153.1:1997 Tractors and machinery for agriculture and forestry – Technical means for ensuring safety – General covers the design of tractors to help prevent accidents. It provides advice for improving safety for users of tractors and machinery for agriculture.

AS/NZS 2153.3:1997 Tractors and machinery for agriculture and forestry – Technical means for ensuring safety – Tractors covers the safety requirements to be met when designing tractors.

Chainsaw safety

Two standards help to protect farmers from harm when using chainsaws.

AS/NZS 60745.2.13:2010 Hand-held motor-operated electrical tools – Safety – Particular requirements for chainsaws provides safety requirements to protect users against hazards when using chainsaws. The standard also helps ensure chainsaws are safe for sale or for connection to the electricity supply mains in New Zealand.

AS/NZS 4453.3:1997 Protective clothing for users of hand-held chainsaws – Protective legwear covers the requirements for the design of protective trousers and leggings for users of hand-held chainsaws.

Mobile elevating work platforms

Falls and tip-overs from mobile elevating work platforms (MEWP) are a leading cause of accidents. AS/NZS 1418.10:2011 Cranes, hoists and winches – Part 10: Mobile elevating work platforms recognises that MEWPs used in horticulture, like in orchards, may require specific design requirements to reduce the risks of use.

AS/NZS 1891.4:2009 Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices – Part 4: Selection, use and maintenance specifies how to select components of the system that are appropriate for the required use.

Personal protection

Several personal protective equipment standards help farmers and farm workers to guard their body, ears, eyes, face, feet, hands, and lungs from harm.

  • Body – AS/NZS 4501.1:2008 Occupational protective clothing – Guidelines on the selection, use, care and maintenance of protective clothing helps farmers to make decisions about the selection, use, care, and maintenance of protective clothing.
  • Ears – AS/NZS 1269.2:2005 Occupational noise management – Noise control management covers the requirements to manage noise and applies to all types of workplaces and to all types of sounds. AS/NZS 1270:2002 Acoustics – Hearing protectors covers the requirements for the design and testing of hearing protectors.
  • Eyes and face – AS/NZS 1337.1:2010 Personal eye-protection – Eye and face protectors for occupational applications specifies the requirements for non-prescription eye and face protectors used by people at work. These protectors guard against common industrial hazards like flying particles, dusts, splashing materials, and harmful gases.
  • Feet – AS/NZS 2210.3:2009 Occupational protective footwear – Specification for safety footwear provides requirements for safety footwear incorporating protective features to protect the wearer from injuries.
  • Hands – AS/NZS 2161.2:2005 Occupational protective gloves – General requirements covers glove construction, safety, and marking of occupational protective gloves. AS/NZS 2161.10.2:2005 Occupational protective gloves – Protective gloves against chemicals and micro-organisms – Determination of resistance to penetration covers the tests required to ensure that these gloves will provide a barrier to biologically hazardous material.
  • Lungs – AS/NZS 1715:2009 Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) includes guidelines to help farmers choose and use RPE correctly. AS/NZS 1716:2003 Respiratory protective devices outlines the requirements for RPEs that protect against atmospheres containing harmful substances.

Managing flood risk

NZS 9401:2008 Managing flood risk – A process Standard aims to reduce the risk of flood damage. Farmers can use the standard to consider all aspects of flood risk when making key landuse decisions.

You can also check out the Good practice guidelines for vehicles, animals, chemicals, machinery, and people on farms on WorkSafe’s farm safety website.

Too buy any of these standards, go to our website and put the standard number in the search box on the homepage, phone 0800 782 632, or email 

Published in consumer and occupational safety.