Agriculture sector still leading in workplace deaths

The boss of Worksafe New Zealand believes a mind-set change is needed among farmers if the number of people dying on farms is to improve.

More people died in workplace accidents in the agriculture sector in 2018, than in any other sector, according to just-released figures.

Overall, 42 people died in workplace accidents last year, down from 50 in 2017.

However, there was little change in the number of deaths of agricultural workers, which stands at 16.

Worksafe chief executive Nicole Rosie thinks farmers need to re-think how they look at risks to their business.

"A lot of farmers think [the biggest risk] is going out of financial business however, the biggest risk is serious harm or death," she said.

"You can restart a farm if you go out of business but, if you die, the family now has a great tragedy, has lost the main income earner and would also find it hard to start a new farming operation," said Ms Rosie.

She said many farmers are also relunctant to use safety features on farm vehicles.

"A lot of people have old quad bikes, and don't want to replace them with newer ones with roll protection."

"Many also don't follow safety practices, like wearing a seatbelt in tractors. It's about getting the right vehicle for the job and making sure it is safe."