The agriculture sector in New Zealand ranks as the least safe industry for workers, following 124 fatalities that occurred in the last six years, according to WorkSafe.
However, farmers have stepped up their campaign to improve their safety record. According to WorkSafe CEO Nicole Rosie, agriculture and forestry employers have become more aware of workplace issues.
Increased Safety Awareness
Rosie advised farmers in regional areas to have open communication lines with their workers. Employers need to communicate the different risks involved in the workplace, especially when operating farming machinery. Most fatalities recorded from 2011 from working on farms comprised vehicle-related accidents, which accounted for 100 out of the 124 incidents.
Quad bikes and tractors, in particular, have claimed the lives of male workers between 55 and 60 years old, contrary to a misconception that younger workers are more vulnerable, according to Rosie. An estimated 80 per cent of workplace deaths stemmed from farm vehicles, she added. Although farming emerged as the most dangerous industry, WorkSafe expects the country’s overall safety record to improve in 2018 due to improving performance.
Despite an improving performance, Rosie believes that more should be done to fix prevailing concerns on workplace safety for other industries. For instance, fatalities in the transportation, logistics and warehousing sector increased to 26 cases in 2017.
Hence, pallet racking inspections will be necessary since employers in this industry use large equipment for storage. Safety audits also apply to construction job sites, as there were 35 fatalities between 2011 and 2017.
Each kind of job entails risks, yet employers now have more resources to prevent accidents. Workforce training and regular safety inspections are just some of the precautions. A good safety record not only protects your workers, but also the company’s bottom-line. How does your company uphold a culture of safety at work?