The programme was designed by WorkSafe New Zealand and the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), with input from the wider agricultural sector.
Safer Farms’ Manager, Al McCone, says the programme is about working with farmers and rural communities so they own their health and safety.
“WorkSafe looked at the problem, recognised that current approaches were not working and sat down with farmers, sector groups and other stakeholders to see how they could tackle the issue while ensuring the continued success of the agriculture sector. The result is Safer Farms,” says Al.
“Farmers have told us they want more information and engagement. The number of deaths and injuries on farms won’t be reduced by WorkSafe sending out more inspectors. Only farmers can directly influence this toll and Safer Farms aims to help them do this.”
The programme will provide an easy-to-use toolkit and a comprehensive online resource available at saferfarms.org.nz so farmers have clear health and safety advice and information.
Only farmers can directly influence this toll and Safer Farms aims to help them do this.
My Safer Farm plan
Using the online plan builder, farmers are taken through a step-by-step process to create a plan tailored to their farm and position.
The plan includes tasks to make the farm safer, under areas such as 'legal responsibilities', 'health and safety' and 'managing hazards'.
Tasks can be ticked off over time and the online plan keeps track of what has been completed, with the option to print checklists and return to your plan on the website whenever you like.
Spreading the message
Safer Farms will also take the health and safety message directly to rural communities – through field days, rural retailer education, school programmes and rural industry groups who will help provide on-site training.
“Safer Farms recognises that people don’t just work on farms, they also live on them,” says Al. “That is why it is no ordinary campaign. The emphasis is on information, education and forming partnerships that will make a difference, rather than just following rules.
“Safer Farms is designed to help make our farmers world leaders in managing health and safety. It will take time, but it will ultimately help farmers implement lasting change so that they keep themselves, their workers and their families healthy and safe.”
For more information on Safer Farms, go to saferfarms.org.nz or phone WorkSafe on 0800 030 040.
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy April 2015