On the farm

22 farmers were killed at work in 2014, and many more were seriously injured. It’s important to maintain health and safety practices on the farm to keep everyone protected.

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Benefits of a safer farm

Most farm injuries are preventable despite the risks on the farm. Unwise risk-taking is an underlying problem in the industry and those working on their own are especially vulnerable.

Keeping yourself and your workers safe on the farm is also good for your business. A safer farm means:

  • improved productivity, good morale and happier, healthier workers
  • better farming practice to help develop a sustainable farming business
  • the ability to carry out weather-critical operations at the right time
  • less chance of damage to machinery, buildings and product
  • lower insurance premiums, levies and legal costs
  • less chance of enforcement action and its costs, eg the cost of dealing with an incident and/or fines
  • reduced risk of damage to the reputation of the business.

Quad bikes (ATVs)

Quad bikes have made farming easier, but they’re also the leading cause of death from injury on New Zealand farms.

  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Take a riding course.
  • Identify specific risks, eg loading and multi-tasking.
  • Don’t let kids ride adult-sized quad bikes.

Studies show that children don’t have the cognitive maturity to make fast decisions in high-risk situations. Download our Quad bike safety for children: A guide for parents and caregivers (PDF 668K) to find out more.

Check out the Safe use of quad bikes (external site) for the Safer Farms guidelines.

Safer Farms (health & safety)

Safer Farms is a programme that ACC and WorkSafe NZ have created to help people working in the agricultural sector manage the health and safety risks they face every day on their farms.

Visit the Safer Farms website (external link) for practical guides, and to learn about your legal responsibilities on the farm.

FarmStrong (mental wellbeing)

Farmstrong is a programme that promotes farmers’ wellbeing, and is for all farmers and growers. More than twenty farmers take their own lives every year in New Zealand. Research shows that while many farmers are great at taking care of their stock and equipment, they often neglect their own needs.

Visit the FarmStrong website (external link) for practical tools and resources.

Injury statistics

The statistics below show injuries that happened on a farm, and related to a farming occupation in the 2014/15 financial year.

  • 16,634 new claims
  • 11.01 work days lost per claim on average
  • Males aged 50-54 had the highest number of claims
  • Top 5 injury sites were lower back/spine, finger/thumb, knee, hand/wrist and shoulder (including clavicle/blade).

Download How are farmers being injured (PDF 1.44M) to find out more.

Order hardcopy posters

Scroll through our On the farm publications for more downloadable resources, and to order hardcopies of the:

  • Cattle handling poster
  • Fallen farmer poster
  • Tractor safety poster.

Reviewed: 20 November 2015