17 Feb 2014

Farmers 'more willing' to take a break

7:37 am on 17 February 2014

Federated Farmers says a decline in farm fatalities marks a cultural shift taking place on the farm.

The lower death rate shows up in two sets of statistics.

Two tractors and hay bales.

Photo: PHOTO NZ

Worksafe New Zealand figures show on-farm fatalities for the Christmas New Year period have fallen from four in 2010 to just one this year.

ACC statistics reveal a 17.5 percent decline in annual farm deaths since 2008.

Federated Farmers says a decline shows stressed-out farmers are getting the message to take a break.

Health and safety spokesperson Jeanette Maxwell said efforts to improve safety awareness and mental health are paying off, although it's taking time.

She said there has been a large uptake of Federated Farmers health and safety brochures and workbooks, and a drug and alcohol policy has been put in place.

Ms Maxwell said Federated Farmers, along with other organisations, have pushed to make farmers aware of both their mental and physical health because if a person is not mentally and physically well they are far more likely to have an accident.

"It's making people aware of not only the factors around you that can be accidents, but ...the human factor, the farmer themselves. If you're not well looked after, you can be the accident."