Thursday, December 7, 2023

Stress linked to farm injuries

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More than half of farmers injured in on-farm accidents link their accidents to stress associated with farm work, a new report says.  
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Farmstrong research found 58% said stress including exhaustion, lack of sleep, coping with the ups and downs of farming and being too busy to take a break or connect with friends and family contributed to their most recent injury.

The injuries accounted for two-thirds of ACC farmers’ claims costs.

And 24% said stress was a major contributor to their injury and those injuries accounted for 30% of ACC farmers’ claims costs.

There are about 13,500 agriculture-related injury claims every year costing about $50 million.

The industry has one of the highest workplace death rates at an average of 17 a year since 2011.

Northland farmer Chris Biddles knows the risks. He’s recovering from a quad bike accident last year that left him with serious ankle, knee and shoulder injuries. 

“I was really tired and because of that I made a dumb decision,” he said. 

“That’s the danger of fatigue. You do something you wouldn’t normally do.”

ACC workplace safety and levies head Paul Gimblett said farmers know how to make their livestock thrive and how to be good stewards of the land but they need to look after themselves as well.

The research, which involved 500 injured farmers, showed those under the age of 35 (35%) and dairy farmers (31%) are more likely than others to report aspects of stress as being a major contributor to their injury while 30% went back to work earlier than recommended.

Staff shortages also had an impact, with 16% of farmers reporting being short staffed when injured.

On those farms the rate at which aspects of stress were a major contributor to the injury (32%) was almost three times the level of farms without staff shortages (11%).

Just over half of the farmers (53%) said they would have been willing, while injured, to give an online programme a go that could be used to identify their top injury risks and develop their own plan for managing them.

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