Light vehicles – two wheelers, quads, and LUVs or side by sides – are essential tools on New Zealand farms. Unfortunately they also account for up to half the deaths on farms every year.
The 'Reducing Harm in New Zealand Workplaces Action Plan' is taking a new look at how, together, we can better support the agriculture, construction, forestry, manufacturing and health sectors to make significant improvements to keep their workers safe.
The plan also focuses on the most common causes of injury across all sectors – slips, trips and falls; working in and around vehicles; body stressing, and respiratory health risks. Underlying this is a new focus on fundamental changes that support health and safety culture, such as worker engagement and participation.
The Plan supports their collaborative efforts to meet the government's target of reducing serious injuries and fatalities in the workplace by at least 25% by 2020.
"Our agencies are committed to working in partnership with industry to meet the government's target and achieve positive health and safety outcomes for all New Zealanders," says ACC's chief customer officer, Sid Miller. "Partnering with industry gives us a more in-depth understanding of what causes harm and severe injury across all New Zealand workplaces, rather than just single problems in single sectors."
WorkSafe's chief executive, Gordon MacDonald, says input from both agencies would ensure better outcomes. "What businesses want to see from WorkSafe and ACC is clear advice and a consistent, practical approach. That's what the Plan will help us deliver – smart, targeted injury and harm prevention programmes based on the best available evidence."
However government agencies cannot do it alone. Everyone has a role to play in keeping themselves, their co-workers and their working environment safe. "Good health and safety is about making sure we all take the right steps to keep ourselves and our workmates safe and healthy at work" says MacDonald.
There are a number of programmes in the Plan already underway, including Safetree, Safer Farms and the Canterbury rebuild programme. Other programmes are in the development stage, which means we are engaging with stakeholders and gathering evidence and data to support interventions.
"Industry and business can have confidence that we've taken an evidence-based approach to severe injury and harm prevention; that what we are delivering for and with industry are agreed, targeted and smart approaches to tackling the causes of severe injury and harm," says Miller.
"Businesses, workers and the public rightly expect government agencies to work together and the three-year Plan is a major step towards a smarter, more co-ordinated approach to keeping New Zealanders safe and healthy," says MacDonald.