The Health and Safety in Employment Act describes employers responsibilities including taking all practicable steps to ensure safety for all people on farm. The Act also stipulates that employees have a responsibility for ensuring their safety and others.
Why focus on safety?
Let’s be blunt. It’s sobering to report 20 deaths in the industry each year, which is only the tip of the iceberg. A significant number of ACC claims which result in higher costs to the business in terms of ACC levees, and the absence of workers due to injury means reduced production, extra labour costs, and/or extra burden on other staff. More needs to be done to keep everyone on farm safe.
Basic steps to begin
- Identify the hazards on your farm.
- Step back and review the risk they present.
- Reduce the overall risk to staff, contractors and visitors by making changes.
- Monitor and review.
- Use tools developed by WorkSafe NZ to complete your Health and Safety plan.
Common questions and answers
Health and Safety is taking away all the good things about being a farmer.
If all the good things about being a farmer mean 20 deaths and a cost to NZ of $136.6 million per year, then they aren’t worth it. The message is for people to think about how you can do the fun things on farm safely.
How can famers legally involve their children in the farm especially when you have to travel to get around?
You can involve children around the farm in all sorts of ways. The legal requirement is that you take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of authorised people on the farm. Putting two people on a vehicle designed for one, or towing an overloaded trailer, or using a grinder without eye protection are all examples of accidents waiting to happen. Ask yourself: if I am transporting children on farm, what vehicle is safe to use, not how do I adapt a vehicle I have.
Can children legally be doubled on a 4 wheeler?
If the legal obligation is to take all practicable steps to ensure safety, you must follow manufacturer’s recommendations. Manufacturers all clearly state ‘No Passenger’ with good reason – increasing the number of occupant’s affects the balance and centre of gravity therefore increasing risk. Operating outside the manufacturers’ recommendations leaves you liable to prosecution.
Can farm staff ride their trail bikes on-farm in their own time?
There is a duty to warn authorised visitors to the farm of any hazards that may exist as a result of farming. If there are farm rules set for speed or any other policies around the use of vehicles, these can be made a condition of authorisation to use vehicles on farm recreationally.
Is it legal to double up on a two wheel motorbike if the passenger has pillion foot rests?
Yes – the ‘Guidelines for the Safe use of two Wheeled Motorbikes on Farms’ say ‘always refer to the manufacturers specifications when deciding to carry passengers.
Make sure there are proper pillion passenger footrests attached to the bike and they are in good condition.’
Are you responsible for hunting accidents on farm?
A person in control of the workplace (usually the sharemilkers, contract milker or land owner) must take all practicable steps to make sure people working and visiting the farm are safe from hazards.
Under the Healthy and Safety in Employment Act 1992, people visiting the farm for a workplace-connected reason are covered. Under the Act you have a duty to warn authorised visitors of any work-related, out-of-the-ordinary hazards that may cause serious harm.
You should satisfy yourself that they understand what hazards may arise from normal every day activities.
You are not liable if anyone comes on the farm without permission and suffers harm, regardless if it is from a work related accident or not.
An authorised visitor is anyone who visits the farm with your permission and includes people who come for leisure or recreation.
This includes people who are legally allowed to be on the property, but only if they have told you they are coming.
You are not responsible if an authorised visitor is injured and you have warned the visitor about any hazards caused by work on the farm.
At the time you give someone permission to come on farm tell them about the type of hazards they are likely to encounter and how to stay safe. If it is a group of people it is enough to give the same type of advice to a representative of that group.
WARNINGS AND INFORMATION FOR VISITORS
You may also need information, instructions or warning signs to inform visitors about hazards on your farm.
Point out that visitors need to take notice of any warnings and stop if in doubt. Remind visitors not go into unauthorised areas.
If the visitor can’t contact the owner or occupier, they shouldn’t go ahead.