5 Aug 2011

Death prompts upgrade of dairy effluent ponds

7:35 am on 5 August 2011

The death of a farm worker in Hawke's Bay has prompted a Waikato firm which manufactures dairy effluent equipment to call on the expertise of a naval engineer to make a safer version.

In October 2009, a 31-year-old dairy herd manager died on a farm west of Hastings when the pontoon he was standing on to service an effluent pump overturned and pinned him underneath.

The Matamata company that manufactured the pontoon, Reid and Harrison, says the pontoon has been extensively redesigned to make it safer.

A director of the company, Seaton Dailey, says the improvements include extra flotation drums, handrails and a stabiliser arm that means the pontoon cannot flip over.

He says detailed instructions on how the pontoon should be used have been added to the safety manual and it is important that farmers follow those instructions.