Farm safety message given boost by Feds in Taranaki

SUE O'DOWD
Last updated 07:50 20/12/2012

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The focus is on Taranaki as the region's Federated Farmers ramps up its approach to promoting farm safety.

Under the leadership of Central Taranaki farmer Bronwyn Muir, Taranaki Federated Farmers has established a working party to foster quad bike safety on Taranaki farms.

Motorycle retailers, government agencies including ACC, safety management and agricultural training providers and agricultural companies like livestock agencies and insurers have joined the working party.

Muir wants safety messages about quad bike safety in Taranaki to be consistent.

"I'd like to see a collaborative, consistent approach to safety in the farm workplace. We have to make sure health and safety compliance is practical as we complete our day-to-day farm tasks."

She also wants organisations dealing with farmers to join the campaign. She thought a lot of practical on-the-ground work with farmers was needed to bring about change.

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (Mobie) New Plymouth service manager Jo-Ann Pugh is welcoming the initiative because she says the ministry cannot change farming culture and farmers' attitudes to safety by itself.

Achieving cultural and behavioural change were the ultimate objectives of the working party because that was how farm safety would be achieved.

"We're not here to get rid of quad bikes. We want them to be used safely."

Over the last two years Mobie staff have been visiting farms to ensure farmers are observing health and safety regulations.

"It's not about imposing a fine. It's about keeping yourself safe, your family safe and your employees safe.

"Farming is a business and, like all business owners, farmers have to comply with health and safety regulations."

New Plymouth Injury Safe programme manager Teresa Gordon said social networks would help bring about a culture change on farms.

Retailer Wal Lymburn, of New Plymouth, said anyone not injured in a quad bike accident was lucky.

"Don't die of stupid," he said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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