Last Friday, NZ.Farmer posted this article: Farmers more safety conscious after 124 deaths in six years says WorkSafe New Zealand.
It made me think about how we value human life. According to the stats, agriculture is the deadliest sector to work in and this doesn’t take into account that almost 200 farmers died by suicide between 2008 and 2016. Mental health is definitely a safety issue according to Suicide concerns rise for farmers as dairy downturn takes its toll April 29th, 2016, NZ.Farmer.
What if a child had died roughly every two weeks in New Zealand from preventable causes, these stats would be totally unacceptable!!! Yet, our farmers are still dying at an alarmingly high rate. Then again, according to Statistics NZ 53 children did die in our country due to domestic violence between 2009 and 2015 (which is equally unacceptable).
What is the story behind the statistics?
According to Nicole Rosie (WorkSafe chief executive) “Forestry is a concern too. But there are more people working in agriculture, so in absolute terms, the accident numbers in agriculture are higher.”
- 100 deaths were vehicle-related: Quad bikes, tractors, unloading and loading, and farm equipment
- Stock injuries, such as broken arms in milking sheds and ankles on farms were the major cause of ACC claims
- Exposure to cancer-causing chemicals and sun also were high on the list of reasons rural people die every year.
- In total, 233 people were killed at work in NZ in the past 6 years
How can you be even more safety conscious and learn from what’s going on in agriculture?
- Your workers and visitors understand the hazards and risks associated with your site and what might be different today
- Everyone has been trained to use vehicles, plant and equipment
- You have some way of knowing who is on your site and that they left safely
- The protocols around storing, using and disposing of hazardous chemicals are taken seriously
- Being sun smart is a given
If you have any new ideas on how we can make farming safer or something to add to how to be even more safety conscious at work please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a safe and productive week.