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ACC, Fed Farmers To Tackle Farm Injuries

17 July 2002

ACC, Fed Farmers To Tackle Farm Injuries

Farming is a deadly serious business in New Zealand. Eleven farmers are seriously injured every day around the country and one farmer is killed on their farm every three weeks.

In a bid to cut those statistics, ACC has joined forces with Federated Farmers to develop an injury prevention programme called FarmSafe.

FarmSafe will involve small groups of farmers attending local, half-day interactive seminars, which are scheduled to begin next month.

The seminars will focus on the common causes of farm injuries, what can be done to avoid them, and how farmers can identify and deal with potential hazards on their properties.

ACC chief executive Garry Wilson told Federated Farmers Annual General Meeting in Christchurch that farming had one of the worst injury figures of any industry in New Zealand, with ACC paying out $45.4 million last year.

“The cost to the agricultural industry and the country as a whole is enormous, and the human cost is dreadful too,” Mr Wilson said.

“Most people injured on farms are self-employed, independent, and working in geographically isolated situations. Life can be pretty tough for them after a serious injury.

“Injuries have a major impact on farming families too. There can be a tremendous upheaval when a serious injury makes it impossible to look after the day-to-day running of a farm, and properties can be lost as a result,” he said.

Mr Wilson said that it was in the best interests of all farmers to cut the number of farming injuries.

“The agriculture account is primarily self-balancing which means that the levies farmers pay each year cover the compensation payments that ACC makes to injured farmers,” he said.

“In recent years the number of claims has risen so much that farming levies has been pushed up. If we can turn this around and reduce the number and cost of claims, there will ultimately be a lower levy to pay. Other industries have done this, and so can farming.”

ACC handled over 4200 serious new claims from farmers last year, at a cost of over $10 million. ACC also paid out a further $20 million in relation to a further 3000 serious claims from previous years. Other claims cost a further $15.4 million.

The most common causes of farm injuries are animals, All Terrain Vehicles, manual handling, falls, and noise-related damage.

FarmSafe seminars will be held in 550 locations over the next year, with organisers hoping to see 8000 farmers attend. The long-range aim is to have 40,000 farmers participate in the programme over the next five years.

Farmers will also be encouraged to attend annual follow-up “shed meetings” each year to discuss advances in injury prevention techniques as well as farm-specific developments in areas such as environmental and quality control.

FarmSafe is supported by the Ministry of Education, with Agricultural ITO, Agriculture NZ Ltd, Telford Polytechnic all helping prepare and deliver the programme. Those attending can gain credits towards NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority) agricultural qualifications.

ACC and a variety of companies working in the agricultural sector are also contributing prizes and offering discounts to participants.

Further information:
visit www.farmsafe.co.nz

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