$2.9 Million awarded to four new safety schemes

Ka whakawhiwhia ngā kaupapa haumaru e whā ki te $2.9 miriona
Dairy Farm 1

We’re investing $22 million over five years to roll out a workplace injury prevention grants programme – aimed at influencing change in health and safety.

Four organisations have been awarded grants to develop new workplace safety initiatives after each proposed an innovative way to enhance safety. The programme was introduced in 2019 and the latest round of grants totals $2.9 million.  

The latest recipients are:

  • SaferMe Limited
  • Massey University
  • Dairy NZ
  • Horticulture NZ

Helping keep Kiwis safe at work 

“We’re delighted to be able to support initiatives that enable organisations to collaborate and work collectively towards developing and implementing products and services that lead to safer and more productive workplaces,” says Virginia Burton-Konia, ACC Workplace Safety Manager.

“We look forward to seeing how each project achieves these outcomes.” But the grants won’t just help the four recipients. Once the projects are complete, they will be shared with other businesses to learn from.

Proposals in this funding round were sought on two priority areas – sprains and strains, and sector leadership.

Sprains and strains

Over the past five years, sprains and strains claims have increased by 30%. In comparison, other types of injuries have increased by 6%.

Half of all sprains and strains injury claims are for lifting while one-in-five is for lifting heavy objects. The most common factor involved in injuries resulting in more than a week away from work is muscular stress, which falls under the sprains and strains category.

Of nearly 31,000 injuries resulting in more than a week away from work between October 2019 and September 2020, over 12,000 were due to muscular stress.

Two builders look at plans

Sector leadership

One of the priorities under our Health and Safety at Work strategy is stronger sector leadership. We want to strengthen the role of sector groups in leading initiatives to improve outcomes across workplaces, particularly where there is a high risk of injury.

Industry and sector groups play an important part in leading approaches and solutions to help businesses manage their health and safety risks and keep their employees safe.

We therefore believe strong, visible leadership is essential to lifting workplace health and safety performance.

We look forward to seeing how each project achieves these outcomes.
- Virginia Burton-Konia - Workplace Safety Manager, ACC NZ

The four recipients’ projects

These proposals focus on initiatives to keep workers safe within the high-risk sectors they’re in – construction and agriculture. The construction industry is the highest cost sector for injuries – last year, we supported 48,650 injured construction workers at a cost of $153 million.

In 2020, there were 22,796 farm-related injury claims accepted, which came at a cost of $84 million to help people recover. In all, we’ve spent more than $833 million on farm-related injuries in the past five years, with the cost in 2020 the highest from this period.

A data-based approach

SaferMe’s project, in collaboration with Civil Contractors New Zealand, is targeted at reducing sprains and strains in the civil construction industry.

The project aims to develop and implement an algorithm that collects data and uses it to measure the level of risk to individual workers.

While the algorithm will initially be rolled out in the civil construction sector, the intention is for it to be adapted and replicated to improve workplace safety in other industries.

A solution through design

Massey University is planning to tackle sprains and strains in the agriculture industry by utilising Prevention through Design (PtD), which encourages construction or product designers to ‘design out’ health and safety risks early in the lifecycle of materials and processes.

The Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay region has been selected as a pilot site due to its high work-related claims history and the fact that agriculture accounts for 14% of all those employed in the region.

The focus will be on preventing sprains and strains to upper body extremities (neck, shoulder, arms, wrists and hands).

Farmer rides a quad bike in high-vis

Working together to improve farmer wellbeing

Dairy NZ is also focusing on sprains and strains with the aim of improving farmer wellbeing.

The intention is to better understand the causes of these injuries and implement solutions that work for and are valued by farmers and farm employees.

It will be a co-development process involving both farmers and stakeholders – an approach that has been used successfully by Dairy NZ in other areas.

Sharing of knowledge to reduce harm

The final grant is this round of funding has been awarded to Horticulture NZ for its proposal in sector leadership.

Recognising that harm rates are increasing in the sector and that new evidence-based approaches are required to reduce harm, Horticulture NZ aims to build system capability and establish health and safety leadership through four key project steps: Understand, Intervene, Support and Lead. 

The proposal also recognises that the sharing of health and safety knowledge and resources nationally across sectors is key to reducing injuries in the workplace and a strong emphasis will be placed on this.

Building worker measures a cut before sawing

More information

This is the third time we’ve offered the workplace health and safety grants as part of our injury prevention programme for businesses. More information can be found on the ACC website.

Workplace injury prevention grants