Health and safety on farms is about looking after people – farm workers, contractors, farm visitors, your family and yourself.
20 people were killed in workplace accidents on farms in 2013 – that's more than the number that died in forestry, construction and manufacturing combined – making farming one of the most dangerous occupations in New Zealand. These numbers represent peoples’ fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons or daughters, with the true impact of the deaths and the serious injuries carried by our farming communities and families.
Each of these deaths, and many of the non-fatal injury incidents were preventable. The true cost of not taking health and safety seriously is far too high.
Fit and healthy people are a critical factor for successful farming. In 2013 around 1 in 5 agricultural workers (over 21,000 people) made a farming-related injury claim to ACC, at a cost of over $26 million. Some of those injuries will keep costing for several years. Over 2,100 injuries caused more than 5 days off work, and those people alone represent over 175,000 days of lost or limited productivity - these were just the injuries that were reported and accepted.
Good health and safety practice enables your farm to keep working. Keeping everyone on your farm safe and healthy helps ensure your people remain productive and your farm is profitable.
By demonstrating you take the health and safety of everyone on your farm seriously, you may also qualify for a Workplace Safety Discount on your annual ACC levy.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (The Act) applies to all workplaces in New Zealand – including farms.
To meet your obligations under The Act, you must take reasonably practicable steps to provide and keep a safe work environment. This includes identifying risks and finding practical ways to manage (eliminate or minimise) them.
A workplace health and safety inspector can turn up at your gate and conduct a health and safety inspection at any time. Serious injuries or fatalities will result in an investigation. If you fail to meet your legal duties under The Act, you may be subject to prosecution or other enforcement action, which may result in significant fines or other penalties.
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