25 May 2015

Arable farmers voice safety concerns

9:14 am on 25 May 2015

Arable farmers concerned with how changes to the Health and Safety Act may affect them are meeting WorkSafe representatives in Southland this week.

The Foundation for Arable Research's group, Women in Arable, have organised sessions after farmers voiced uncertainty about the changes that are due to come into force later this year.

Spokesperson Anna Heslop said one session had already been held in Ashburton, where they found many people were sceptical of the new rules.

"There were lots of questions and lots of discussions around enforcement, and around grey areas in the act where they really feel quite nervous about understanding exactly what their responsibilities are.

"Grey areas of particular concern would be around where, for example, a farmer supplies safety equipment, provides training on safety equipment, but a worker chooses not to use that equipment - then whose responsibility is that?

"By the end of the night, everyone had had their say, quite loudly at times, and people did go away with a better idea of what was coming," she said.

"I think a key thing that WorkSafe made clear was that any business which has a good farm safety plan now, that plan will carry over under the new act, they shouldn't have to do anything different with regards to developing a plan."

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs