Make your New Year's resolution an injury-free 2016

Published: 02-Feb-2016

This year, make a resolution that you won't break. One that is easy to keep. This year make the resolution that your farming operation will be injury and fatality free in 2016.

Anybody can be hurt or killed. It’s an unfortunate fact. There is great news though. Accidents are totally preventable. Preventable injuries and deaths don’t have to be your reality. Getting behind this idea is the very first step in having an injury and fatality free 2016.

Developing a farm safety plan is probably the best, more thorough and smartest ways to increase the likelihood of an injury- and fatality-free farm.

Basic components of a good plan:

  1. Know your responsibilities as a farm owner and operator. Your farm safe plan should meet or exceed the legislated health and safety requirements of your area. If you don’t know what they are, ask.
  2. Talk to a WorkSafe representative for more information. Not knowing or not understanding the law doesn’t excuse you from prosecution.
  3. A solid farm safety plan is a statement about why safety is important to you and your farm. This is what you’d say to someone if they asked about how you are keeping your family, workers and farm safe. This statement tells people about your commitment to safety and health. Saying it out loud (and writing it down!) helps you guide your farm safety plan.
  4. Make sure to back this up with operational policies, like standard operating practices, training requirements and records, emergency plans, etc.
  5. Hazard identification and control strategies are also parts of the plan. This doesn’t have to be done all at once. You may have more of this information locked into your brain, or someone else knows it, but by taking the time to be purposeful, writing it down, taking a critical look at hazards and how exactly they can be controlled will make your farm safety plan that much more likely to reduce the possibility of injury or death.

Even though you’ve worked on your plan, it has to be used and it has to be reviewed.

A dusty folder on the top shelf in your office won’t protect you — you have to put your plan into action.

If something doesn’t work, fix it! If a hazard changes, address it! If you get a new worker, train them, show them the plan. Use it or lose it!

An injury and fatality free 2016 is achievable. It’s something that we all want for all of ourselves and our loved ones.

A farm safety plan is an excellent tool in achieving this and it’s easier than you think. Free advice and support is offered through WorkSafe, or Kerry Miles, Rural Safety Coordinator at Waimakariri District Council.

For more information about farm safety plans, or for a Safer Farms Toolkit visit www.saferfarms.org.nz. Other information, including useful links, can be found on our Rural safety page.

Name: Kerry Miles, Rural Safety Coordinator

Phone: 03 311 8900 or 03 327 6834