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Almost Half Of Vehicle-related Deaths On Farm Could Be Avoided If Seatbelts Were Used

WorkSafe New Zealand is advising farmers to buckle up after an analysis of vehicle-related fatalities found that nearly half those that occur on farm could have been avoided if a seatbelt was being used.

The data analysis, completed by WorkSafe, revealed that not wearing seatbelts while on the job was the largest single factor contributing to fatal work-related accidents.

The data analysis coincides with the launch of a new side-by-side vehicle simulator which will spend the next six months travelling New Zealand’s agricultural Fieldays and featuring in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year competition.

The simulator allows a driver to sit in the seat of a retired side-by-side vehicle and navigate a series of farm safety tasks while driving an off road course. The first task is putting on your seatbelt.

“Putting on your seatbelt is the simplest task and one we practice easily when driving on the open road, said Al McCone, WorkSafe Engagement Lead for Agriculture.

“If we can get people doing this on farm as well – we will see lives saved.”

Today the side-by-side began its road trip underneath the sails at Queens Wharf in Wellington, where WorkSafe invited key agricultural stakeholders the chance to try out the simulator before it headed into provincial New Zealand.

“We know that we need all of an industry to get on board with improving health and safety for us to see results. That’s why we seized the opportunity to get some of the city based agricultural representatives on board,” said McCone.

To see WorkSafe’s new advertisement encouraging seatbelt use in farm vehicles – follow this link


On farm -

· If all agricultural workers wore seatbelts, claim costs to ACC could be reduced by almost $2 million a year.

· Non seatbelt use was relevant in 40% of vehicle related fatalities on farm and 27% of all fatalities on farm.

· Of every 10 fatalities where seatbelt use may have been relevant, 9 people were not wearing them.

· The older you are the more likely you are to injure yourself from not wearing a seatbelt in an on farm incident.

All industries -

· Not wearing a seatbelt contributes to 52 per cent of all vehicle-related deaths and 15 per cent of all work-place fatalities (in any industry). That’s around 10 lives a year.

· More than 44% of all fatalities involved vehicles working on off-road work-sites – including agricultural, transport and warehousing, manufacturing, and construction settings.

WorkSafe advice on seatbelt use in the workplace

· Workers should wear seatbelts whenever they are using a vehicle or mobile plant for work, and there is a seatbelt available.

· Most modern vehicles and mobile plant should have seatbelts installed (where appropriate). However, where vehicles or mobile plant is not fitted with seatbelts (e.g. due to age of construction) businesses should investigate if it is reasonably practicable to safely fit a seatbelt.

· A qualified engineer should be engaged when retrofitting seatbelts.

· Businesses should promote and monitor the use of seatbelts by workers, and engage with workers on the importance on wearing seatbelts.

· Seatbelts should fit well and be comfortable as possible – if workers are having trouble with fit and comfort there are options available to improve comfort and fit.

· Businesses should consider seatbelt options when purchasing or upgrading vehicles and mobile plant – choose the vehicle and seatbelts that best ensure the safety of your workers.

· Make sure your seatbelts and seatbelt anchorages are in good working order. If seatbelts or seatbelt anchorages are showing signs of wear or not functioning properly, they may need replacing or repair. Things to watch out for include fraying or torn belts, non-connecting buckles, non-retracting belts, damaged, rusty or worn anchor points, and missing belts.

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