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A farmer dies every 28 days in New Zealand

16 June 2010

Media release

A farmer dies every 28 days in New Zealand

Thirteen farmers died in accidents on New Zealand farms in 2009, which is the equivalent to one farmer dying every 28 days.

Farmers also experienced more than 18,600 injuries on farms last year, which means that a farmer or agricultural worker is injured approximately every 34 minutes in New Zealand.

The most common causes of injuries were poor handling of animals, quad bikes and farm machinery.

Nearly 1,700 farm workers were injured by cattle last year and those injuries cost New Zealand nearly $6 million in ACC claims alone.

Three farmers or agricultural workers died and nearly 300 were injured in quad bike accidents on farms last year, according to ACC claims figures.

Recent research from Otago University forecast that in any given year farm workers will lose control of quad bikes on approximately 12,645 occasions, resulting in about 1400 injuries. Not all of these will be registered as workplace injury claims with ACC.

More than 300 people were injured in tractor accidents. Common accidents included being run over, rolling the tractor and being injured by an uncovered power take-off (PTO) shaft.

“Tractor, cattle and quad bike accidents costs New Zealanders $12.4 million a year in ACC claims alone. That’s without the cost to farming businesses of having skilled staff off work,” said ACC General Manager Keith McLea.

To help farmers minimise the risk of injuries to themselves and their employees, ACC has produced three new safety booklets with useful tips on handling cattle, driving tractors and controlling quad bikes.

To pick up a copy of the booklets or to find out more about injury prevention visit the ACC team at Fieldays on 16 to 18 June 2010 - site number BLED31.

Top tips for:

Handling animals
• Keep cattle calm
• Use your voice to let cattle know where you are
• Speak softly and carry a big stick
• Approach animals from the front or side – where they can see you.

Driving quad bikes
• Wear a helmet
• Look where you’re going, not where the stock are going.
• Learn to ride a quad bike properly.
• Let people know where you’re going and when you think you’ll be back.

Driving tractors
• Start the tractor engine ONLY when you’re sitting in the seat; never start it from the ground.
• Wear snug fit clothing to avoid it getting caught in moving parts or accidentally activating control levers.
• Wear ear-muffs if you don’t have a cab.
• And if you really need to do the job and your tractor is not up to it, get your neighbour to help, or call in a contractor. Don’t risk it.


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