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Health and Safety News

Children on Farms - By Bronwyn Muir

Friday, October 05, 2018

The news this week of another tragic farming accident involving a young family rocks us all to the core. Our heartfelt thoughts are with the farming families and communities of those who have tragically lost loved ones this month.

For the majority of farmers we are now, or have been in the position of, having to manage the dangers associated with raising and working around the care of a young family whilst getting the necessary seasonal work completed on a farm.

The majority of us want our children to experience life growing up on the farm and encourage our kids to get out there, have a go, get a bit dirty, grow independence and learn to love the animals, lifestyle and possibly see a future In farming themselves one day.

Unfortunately, though children bring an extra risk element just by being kids?

Children explore, touch, often don’t notice dangers or risk and make mistakes as they develop their own level of ‘common-sense’.

Farming Parents - let’s face facts our farms are high-risk workplaces most of the time, especially for a little person! We are all constantly doing a risk analysis as we face the new day or task. We need to ask ourselves – is it safe enough for a child? Whether the risk is a body of water, a machine, animal or farm task – how high is the risk of a small person added into the situation?

The OnFarmSafetyNZ team work with many young families and understand that we are working with the critically important ‘next generation’ farmer. We are NOT about banning the kids from farms! We work with whole farm teams to analysis where and when it is appropriate and safe to have kids working alongside and when it would be better to have them supervised in a safer place.

We coach all our young farming family clients through a full risk assessment of farm work related hazards and assist each farming team to document and monitor all their hazards and develop sensible farm policies that are reasonable and practicable – just as the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 requires.

We have simple and easy to understand templates both online and on paper that will assist your health and safety system development and provide clarity for all your farm team around running your farming operation safely.Working with us may save a tragedy.

   Read More . . .

The worst CAN happen - Gregg Peters

Monday, August 27, 2018

We’ve all heard the saying “It’ll never happen to me”, well unfortunately sometimes it does, and if it does happen the accompanying stress can reach a pretty high level.

So what exactly happens in this situation? If it’s a standard accident then you need to record it, and this isn’t an option, it’s a legal requirement under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 for any business in any industry. Following the accident there needs to be an accident investigation. I don’t mean a hundred page document, but something that details what happened, what was involved, and what caused the accident; but more importantly what can you do to make sure it doesn’t happen again, remembering your duties under the act to take “All reasonable and practicable steps’.

The next level of accident would be one that is serious enough that it requires notification to WorkSafe as per your responsibility under the act. In this instance you need to preserve the scene so that the visiting inspector can get the full picture of what happened. After an initial site visit they will determine whether this is something that requires a more detailed investigation, and if that happens you are in for long ride as they have twelve months from the date of the accident to decide whether they will go ahead with enforcement action.

This is where it is imperative you have some formal Health & Safety documentation. You will be asked to provide a raft of documentation despite WorkSafes party line of “as long as you are talking about it we don’t expect you to document everything” – Wrong;if you have documentation, you are better dressed to weather the storm of a formal WorkSafe investigation, and furthermore that little voice in the back of your head that is saying “Shit what do I do?” or “how do we manage Health & Safety on the farm?” or “How can we prove we have done that?” will be a little quieter.

Don’t rely on word of mouth to manage Health & Safety in your business because it will only work until it’s too late and don’t make “we didn’t think it would happen” a viable defence should you end up in front of a judge.

Be proactive and be prepared.

   Read More . . .

Common Sense Doesn't Work - Gregg Peters

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Health and Safety has been around for years and in the past we’ve relied on that old chestnut of “Common Sense”, sadly common sense just isn’t that common but not because there are a lot of people out there who have no clue but more because it doesn’t actually exist in the first place.

Think about it, everyone has different life experience, different teachings from their parents, different groups of friends and family who influence them and different job experience, so expecting everyone to have enough knowledge about everything to keep them safe is just not going to work. Experiences sometimes result in good results, or painful ones, and so commonsense is a learned behaviour and does not just automatically ‘happen’.

Enter the Health & Safety At Work Act 2015 which has been upgraded from the previous act in an effort to reduce accidents, reduce workplace deaths and make sure that those than own businesses are aware of what they should be doing to ensure the safety of their staff, why do we have this new legislation? Because common sense wasn’t working.

Simply put, if you own a business you need a health and safety plan and if you have staff you REALLY need a health and safety plan. Relying on common sense doesn’t work, putting your head in the sand doesn’t work either and neither does thinking “it won’t happen to me” or “no one’s going to tell me how to run my business”, the fact is that if something does happen and you are found liable the subsequent fines imposed may ensure you don’t have a business left to run.

Having staff increases the risk of an accident within your business and even if you don’t have staff having contractors on site will do the same, both create an increased likelihood of something happening and despite several organisations insisting you just need to have good communication and not to worry about documentation I can assure you from personal experience this is not going to cut the mustard if you find yourself on the receiving end of a WorkSafe investigation.

I’ve worked with dozens of businesses and the two things that comes up regularly are “we’ve been thinking about it for a couple of years but haven’t got around to it” and “it all seems a bit too hard really”. A Health and Safety plan doesn’t need to be complicated but it does need to be thorough and understood by all in the workplace. Yes there will be some paperwork, yes it will take time to set up, but once in place it should just be a case of doing and gathering evidence of what you say you do.

A generic plan is a good start and better than nothing but you should have a good working system that you can understand and that reflects your business and the way you run it. Your plan needs to be specific to what you do because no two businesses have the same risks or hazards, no two businesses are run the same way.

If you’ve read this article and your still thinking “nah, I don’t need a plan, I’ll just wing it”, maybe you’ll be ok, maybe one of your staff won’t roll your tractor or put your quad bike into a gully or get hurt handling stock, or get poisoned spraying herbicide without a respirator, or fall into the effluent pond and be overcome by methane fumes. Maybe. But what if something like that does happen?

   Read More . . .

Training your staff and keeping a record of your hazardous substances - From Worksafe

Sunday, July 15, 2018

From 1 June, a new regulation came into force that means you must now keep a record of all of the information, training and instruction you give your workers about hazardous substances.    Read More . . .

Keeping Children Safe.... Sandras Blog

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Each year in New Zealand children die and are injured on the farm where they live, work and play.

Children are vulnerable to many of the same hazards as adults who live or work on farms, but they are less capable of understanding those hazards and associated risks. Although parents cannot completely child-proof a farm, they need to make it as safe as possible.

Farm-related childhood injuries and deaths may seem unpredictable and random, but there are definite factors that should play a part in prevention efforts.

Parents can take these precautions to prevent children from getting hurt on the farm or ranch:

§Find out the developmental characteristics of children at specific ages

§Identify the dangerous areas on your farm and determine where kids are most likely to get hurt

§Determine what draws kids to dangerous situations

§Set up appropriate rules and/or boundaries for children to follow and be consistent in enforcement of the rules

§Train youth in proper and safe operation of farm tasks before assigning chores

§Provide necessary personal protective equipment for the job

§Supervise children based on age and maturity level. Children must prove they are capable of following instructions and safety rules.

   Read More . . .

Top five agricultural safety tips

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Farm safety is a serious concern. Between hazardous farm equipment and sometimes erratic livestock, our frontline producers live in a very dangerous world. We also have to consider the fact that while farms do rely on a lot of transient, seasonal help at times, the nucleus of operations on farms is often represented by a tightly knit family. So while occupational injury and illness is never a good thing, it is even more problematic – emotionally, financially – to the families themselves when health and safety is compromised. But that should also be a great excuse to ramp up the approach to safety.   Read More . . .

Take a Break...... From Our Manawatu consultant Jenny

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Jenny's Blog:
With the Christmas break fast approaching it is time to make sure everyone on farm gets a break and is refreshed for the new year. This also includes owners and their families. It’s been a very hard wet season for a lot of farmers and everyone needs a break and some sun (it will come).
Ensure you induct any relief staff coming onto the property and that they understand your Health & Safety system, as well as your policies and procedures.
Show them where to record incidents/accidents/near misses.
Have your Emergency Procedures displayed with all the up to date relevant phone numbers in case of an emergency, power cut etc.
If relief or any staff are going to be working alone ensure you have a ‘Working Alone Policy’ in place so they return home safety at the end of each day.
Start looking at your rosters now so you can include yourself in a well-deserved break.
   Read More . . .

Sandras blog: Preventing job related injuries is good business

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Preventing Job Related Injuries Is Good Business   Read More . . .

Recharge Yourself - Bridgets blog

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Winter Recharge Time   Read More . . .

FROSTS!~ Leah our Northland consultant

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Having had our first frost here in Northland, it’s a timely reminder that winter and its weather is fast approaching.. Not that winter is the only time you need to be ready for!   Read More . . .