Push to reduce workplace injury on farms

Farm workers have spoken of their horrendous accidents at the launch of an initiative to reduce the "unacceptable" number of workplace injuries on New Zealand farms.

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson released the Agriculture Sector Action Plan at Parliament today.

The plan targets four areas that account for half of all injuries and deaths in the agriculture sector - use of agriculture machinery, mental health and wellbeing of workers, slips and falls, and animal handling.

Several victims of farm accidents attended the launch. Emily Mott of Dannevirke was nearly killed when struck by a quad bike in 2007.

Her injuries were so severe that she was nearly declared braindead. She also suffered near-complete memory loss, and was not aware that she married six weeks before the crash.

"It's been hell," she said. "I don't want to tell people they must do this or that... but accidents do happen."

Ms Wilkinson said agriculture was vital for New Zealand but it was also one of the most dangerous industries. Fifteen farm workers were killed last year.

The plan sets out how agriculture and Government aim to reduce harm in the four target areas over the next two years.

- By Isaac Davison of the New Zealand Herald



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