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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.