Thursday, 19 August 2021 08:55

Improving on-farm health and safety

Written by  Staff Reporters
Kiwi dairy farmers take health and safety seriously. Kiwi dairy farmers take health and safety seriously.

A new DairyNZ and ACC project is looking at improving the health and safety of farmers by reducing the occurrence of sprains and strains on-farm.

The Reducing Sprains and Strains project is designed to develop solutions which support a sector-wide reduction in sprains and strains by 2030.

DairyNZ general manager farm performance Sharon Morrell says looking after their people is a priority for many farmers throughout the country, but issues often arise particularly during busy periods.

Sprains and strains represent around 40% of dairy farm injuries, with the highest risk period occurring between August and October.

"This coincides with peak calving on most farms, where we often see increased working hours and fatigue," says Morrell.

This project has been made possible through $900,000 of co-funding by the ACC's Workplace Injury Preventuon programme, supported by a $150,000 investment by dairy farmers through the DairyNZ levy.

"We are grateful for the ACC funding, as it will allow us to identify potential solutions to reduce sprains and strains, helping improve the wellbeing of our farmers - employers and employees," says Morrell.

"This project is exciting as it works towards improving our workplaces which will have positive outcomes for all farmers, supporting the sector to attract and retain staff.

"Our goal is to work with farmers to understand the causes of sprains and strains, potential solutions and drivers of change, to develop solutions that fit with their farming practices. This will then benefit other areas of the business, including farm productivity."

ACC workplace safety injury prevention manager Virginia Burton-Konia says ACC welcomes the opportunity to provide grants to organisations such as DairyNZ to lead initiatives aimed at improving workplace injury rates.

"Reducing the rate of injuries in the dairy sector would have a positive impact on the wellbeing of people working in the sector, and a safe and well workforce means more productive businesses."

The project will use expertise from global audit company, QCONZ for project delivery.

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