12 Feb 2010

Dairy farm injuries skyrocket

12:48 pm on 12 February 2010

ACC warns that the boom in dairying is being matched by a rising number of accidents and injury claims on dairy farms.

Total cost of farm accident treatment and compensation has risen from $48.5 million to $78.5 million in six years.

Claim numbers have risen by more than 4000 in the same period.

Claims from dairying-related injuries and accidents have rapidly increased in the last four or five years.

Agriculture programme manager Peter Jones says injuries resulting from animal handling remain the number one claim.

Tractor and farm bike accidents, and hearing loss claims also feature highly.

Mr Jones says it's estimated 60% - 70% of farmers do not have safety and health policies in place. He urges them to enrol in free workplace safety courses.

Farmers for Farm Safety says farmers have a legal obligation under the Health and Safety in Employment Act to have a safety policy.

South Island health and safety advisor D'arcy Palmer says the lack of safety policies is contributing to the statistics of one on-farm fatality every 17 days and 42 injuries every day.