A Gore farm machinery company’s shoddy repairs to a tractor have landed it with a fine of $239,063 and reparations of $103,459 awarded to an injured farm worker.
OnFarmSafety NZ managing director Bronwyn Muir is stating that since the new Health & Safety at Work act 2015 came into force farmers have had six months to become health and safety compliant, and now the honeymoon period is over.
Worksafe has indicated they will take a firmer line of enforcement.
Muir says “farmers must become health and safety compliant, statistics show that over the past three years there has been little change in reducing the number of incidents and accidents on farm”.
Of late there has been several rural incidents and fatalities (many involving quad bikes), he says.
“This is something we cannot ignore or presume to be common sense, farmers need to take action to make their workplace safer especially at this time of year when farmers are seasonally fatigued and with poor weather and ground conditions.”
Muir says “it’s important to have regular meetings with staff ensuring health and safety is discussed, and also inducting contractors onto your farm”.
Farmers should all now be aware of their health and safety requirements and should have systems in place.
The legislation changed in April 2016, everyone in the workplace has a responsibility to make sure their workplace is safe and healthy for all those who work there and evidence of this should be retained somehow.
Muir says “Farmers tend to subconsciously be making health and safety decisions in their day to day activities, we encourage farm employers to ‘have the discussions’ and make everyone on farm aware of the risks. They must put pen to paper or the whiteboard, take photos, and document, document, document as a good business risk insurance policy. OnFarmSafety is a fully accredited health and safety provider who will educate, support and assist farmers to become health and safety compliant”.