This members update includes: 

  • Safer Farms announcements and what we've been up to
  • Why is November to January the worst time for quad crashes?  
  • 2020  has been a deadly year for farm accidents
  • Keeping the COVID health and safety momentum moving forward
  • Safer Farms' GM Tony Watson: Stop cutting corners and adopt best practice 
  • Tips and tricks to handle the Summer workload 
  • Are you entitled to free money for rollover protection?
  • Save a life listen to your wife and #PlantASeedForSafety 

This message is to members and supporters of Safer Farms and the Agricultural Leaders’ Health and Safety Action Group. We hope you find this of interest and look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to forward it on to anyone who has an interest in improving safety on farm!
If this email was forwarded to you and you’d like us to email you directly, please contact

Safer Farms announces new Chair and two new directors to Board

Safer Farms has welcomed three new Directors to its Board, including Lindy Nelson who has also been announced as the organisation’s new Chair.

The Agri Women’s Development Trust (AWDT) co-founder has taken over from Justine Kidd, who has chaired Safer Farms since its formation in 2017 and will remain on the Board.

Federated Farmers’ Vice President Karen Williams and Zanda MacDonald Award Winner Jack Raharuhi were named as the new Directors at the organisation’s AGM.

The trio replace Andrew Morrison and Nicole Rosie who stepped down during the year due to changes in their work roles, and Stephen Carden who stepped down at the AGM.

Stephen was Safer Farms' founding leader and the group came together following his leadership to convene, ask and discuss with other agricultural business CEO’s the question ‘what do we want to do about our harm statistics in ag'. 

We want to say a massive THANK YOU to our departing directors for their support, discussion and debate. 

Lindy Nelson - Safer Farms Chair and Agri Women's Development Trust Co Founder
Lindy Nelson is the co founder of the Agri Women's Development Trust and will be taking over the helm as Chair from Justine Kidd. 

Nelson has spent the last ten years growing the capability of women in the sector and said health and safety also needs urgent attention. 

“We need to shift the sector’s belief that health and safety is a compliance-based thing, to it being culture based and incorporates every part of your business,” she said.

“It is good business practice, and we need to help people create that mind shift and women are really pivotal in helping to support those on farm changes that need to occur.”
Enacting change isn’t new to Lindy, who was also part of a team which designed a cutting-edge health and safety programme with AWDT.  

“I’ve had a lot of influence, I’ve been able to do a lot of sector transformation through founding and leading the Agri Women’s Development Trust so I want to be able to use those networks, those relationships and those influences from Ministers down to grassroots, to normalise really good health and safety practice within businesses,” she said.

“Being a farmer myself gives me a legitimacy to talk around that, I know what it takes, I know how hard it is to incorporate health and safety but I also know the effect it has on the business when you can incorporate a really good health and safety culture.”

She hopes to play a big part in helping the sector to set a direction and plan for agriculture, health and safety and achieve impact by doing the stuff that will make an impact on farm and in agricultural businesses.

Lindy is a visionary leader, Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to agriculture and women, 2013 Next Businesswoman of the Year and has also been named by Primary Magazine as one of the top ten women in agriculture.

Jack Raharuhi, 2020 Zanda McDonald Award winner and Pamu Dairy Operations Manager, Buller. 
Health and safety is something Raharuhi has had a strong care for since a very close friend was killed in a quad bike accident at the tender age of 16.

“Ever since then, I’ve been really passionate about sending everyone home safe to their whanau,” he said.


“Health and safety is a huge part of leadership and management in big teams, it’s pastoral care for a team. I think when you provide pastoral care and send people home safe, productivity of work is a lot higher.”

The biggest challenge with health and safety from his perspective is getting the whole industry to buy in.

“There are pockets of great and also pockets of opportunity, getting some consistency in our sector is really important and continuing the maturity of it,” he said.

Looking forward to having one hand on the steering wheel of health and safety with a group of like-minded people, Raharuhi is excited to get started.

“What I bring to the table is a good practical eye and some good coal face experience. Hopefully that can bring things into reality and I can give some practicalities around some of the thinking as well.”

Along with the Zanda McDonald Award, he also has other accolades under his belt, including 2016 Ahuwhenua Young Maori Farmer of the Year and 2017 West Coast top of the south farm manager of the year.

Karen Williams - Federated Farmers Vice President and health and safety spokesperson and arable farmer in the Wairarapa. 
Passionate for change and the need to see everyone walk through the door from their day jobs alive and uninjured, Karen is looking forward to assisting in another leadership space.

“I’m really keen to make sure that we embrace a culture of change, we’re currently too blasé,” she said.


“It’s time we busted the bravado that it’s okay to take unnecessary risk, it’s okay to think ‘she’ll be right’ and that it’s okay to celebrate in jest at the pub about our near misses. We should be focusing on ‘how we avoid our staff, family, visitors and ourselves from being hurt?’.”

Living on an active working farm with both machinery and livestock, she knows first-hand how accidents on farm can happen, and the impact they have on the victim as well as their loved ones.

“There’s got to be investment that becomes just part of your routine – like letting the dogs off in the morning and feeding them at the end of the day. We need to embrace a culture of positive change so that our people are safe,” she said.

“Working safely needs to be built into all conversations and there’s lots of little things we can do to change the way we approach the challenge of farming with risk, both on and off the farm.”

Check out our new Safer Farms' website!

We have a new Safer Farms website! 

It's still under construction and we're still working away on it, but make sure you check it out. 

And if you have any thoughts or feedback, things you want to see or anything we can add, please email and let us know!

Tomorrow's Farms Open Day at Duncraigen Farm a massive hit 

On Thursday 3rd December, Pamu opened the gates of Duncraigen Farm in Te Anau in partnership with Farmlands and Safer Farms. 

Despite the blustery conditions, over 100 people turned out to learn more about the farm and innovation. 

Safer Farms' General Manager Tony Watson said the Tomorrow's Farms Open Day is about demonstrating a range of strategies and innovations to help any farm business become more profitable, sustainable, productive, safer and better prepared for the future. 

"My challenge to farmers is to be alert to those ideas, suggestions and examples that could be applied to their own farms. We looked at some options on the day, but it's really a way of thinking, and believing that we have a positive future regardless of the type of farming or the headwinds we are facing."

The bus toured around the farm viewing stud and commercial livestock, with great interaction between farmers and presenters. Alliance put on a bbq and coffee to fuel everyone, meanwhile agri businesses such as Gallagher, FMG, Farmstrong, and Summit Steel and Wire were also on site talking about their latest products and services.

Duncraigen Farm is involved with the South Island Genomic Calibration (SIGC) Flock - a partnership of researchers and industry groups which enables industry implementation of genomic predictions for growth, yield and meat quality in terminal sheep sires.

Farmers learnt first hand all about Pamu's genetic programmes and priorities with Duncraigen supplying all South Island Pāmu properties performance recorded Angus genetics as part of New Zealand's largest breeding programme. 

Learning about futureproofing farms and virtual fencing from AgResearch’s David Stevens was mentioned as a real highlight by attendees. 

The farm has also retired a number of native bush areas under permanent covenants, completed extensive riperian planting and undertaken an intensive river flat development to turn land full of broom and gorse into 80ha of productive pasture.

Mark Sutton from QE2 Waiau Trust offered pragmatic approaches and solutions to the seemingly endless expectations on farmers. 
The day was wrapped up by a yarn from Safer Farms' own Harriet Bremner, who created some really good discussion about looking after yourself and those you work with.


Safer Farms helps school host farm safety day 

Safer Farms' is extremely proud to have been involved in a farm safety day with over one hundred primary school age children, teaching them some practical ways to stay safe when out and about on the farm!

Hosted at Strath Taieri School in Middlemarch, Lee Stream School and Macraes Moonlight also came along to learn with 112 children and 65 families in attendance. 

And there's hopes we can use this as a pilot day to roll out in schools across the country. 

Strath Taieri teacher and student council leader, Kate Martin said the idea started when a child had a minor incident during woodwork and wanted to learn more about first aid and how to be safe and be seen on the farm.

The initiative which was led by the Strath Taieri School student council, was hosted in partnership with the local community, Safer Farms and New Zealand Young Farmers alongisde sponsors and the local community. 

The first half of the day for the primary school aged children was first aid training from the New Zealand Police. For the second half of the day, they took part in eight on farm modules.

These included identifying blind spots around proper tractors, learning to load a trailer and strop it down safely, learning how to use fire extinguishers and dressing up in the proper equipment to ride a motorbike.

With a local school family owning a transport company, the children were lucky enough to also watch and learn first-hand how long a stock truck takes to stop in a hurry and how to be safe around them.

“They were shocked how far it takes to safely pull up if there were trailers and animals on board and how much of a distance that actually is,” Martin said.

“In any farm community, if we have the younger people growing up switching on their ‘think safe brain’ and knowing how to speak up if they see something wrong, then we can’t go wrong,” she said. 

With no other events out there like this, she really enjoyed watching the students learn and said the practical, hands on activities were extremely beneficial.

“They’ll always remember this day. They may not remember all the writing, reading and maths lessons, but they remember days like this and if one thing sticks in their brain then I think we’ve done a pretty good job.”

With WorkSafe and the Rural Support Trust also on sight talking to parents, she said the conversations the kids would take home would also be useful.  

New Zealand Young Farmers' South Island Territory Manager, Bridget Joicey, said it was fun to support the event and help deliver such important messages through practical activities and in subtle ways.

“It was really cool that the whole day was driven by the student council, not teachers, wanting to learn all about on farm health and safety,” she said.

“I am so proud to see children at such a young age knowing how critical it is to learn about this stuff and who are also so passionate about keeping everyone safe.”

Safer Farms’ Health, Safety and Wellbeing Advocate Harriet Bremner said the main learning of the day was for children to understand to stop, think and make good decisions while out on the farm.

“Being able to involve and engage with children directly about how to keep safe on farm in a hands-on perspective is such an important way for them to learn,” she said.

“The fact they get to take these messages home to their parents and have conversations to help change cultures and behaviours towards health and safety is incredibly important, not just for getting everyone home safe at the end of the day, but also for creating safer on farm environments for everyone.”

Influencing the younger generation with on farm safety, Bremner believed would instill passion for health and safety from a young age and create safer farms for future generations.

Bremner is also excited at the possibilities with plans underway to potentially develop this pilot day into a national programme for schools to take part in and implement themselves.

WorkSafe, New Zealand Police, Farmstrong, Southfuels, PGG Wrightson, Norwood, Firewatch, Cook Transport and Hunting and Fishing also sponsored the event, providing prizes and time. 

All 65 families also went home with two Gurt and Pops books’ each, written by Harriet Bremner, ‘Be Safe Be Seen’ and ‘Use Your Voice’ thanks to WorkSafe, Farmstrong and FMG.  

Read more about this in Rural Life
Or in The Country!

November to January doesn't have to equal quad bike carnage 

FMG has settled claims exceeding $12.5 million in quad bike crashes over the last five years.
Two-thirds of them were accidents and 30% attributed to rollovers.

And there's seasonal bias towards rollover incidents during November to January, the time when mustering and spraying are all the go, particularly on beef and sheep farms.

Read the full article here

Anita's story

28 years old and a paraplegic. This is Anita Kendrick's reality after a quad bike accident broke her back while casual mustering at docking. 
A shepherd in a wheelchair, her dogs are her legs. 

A story of resilience, hope and positivity, she's using her experience in the hope others will learn and take something away from her story. 
Watch her story above, or read more here
Multi tasking can lead to trouble
Almost 20% of FMG’s quad bike accidents claims happen when the rider is performing another task while riding, like spraying or moving stock. A small lapse in concentration can lead to collision or worse, a rollover. When using the quad to muster, always be conscious of the ground ahead of you and be willing to let the stock get away, rather than putting the quad in a compromised position. 
Park the brake at the gate
Almost 20% of FMG’s quad bike accidents claims have happened when the rider is not on the bike. This usually happens when the rider is getting off to open or shut the farm gate. Remember to use the park brake when getting on and off your quad bike to stop it from getting away.
Do your quad bike pre checks

Doing a pre ride check will ensure your quad bike is safe to use. Uneven tyre pressure can affect the stability of your bike and we know it doesn’t take much to roll. An object just 15cm in size, hit at low speed may be enough to offset the stability of your bike and cause a rollover.  Do a TCLOCC check: tyres, chassis, lights, oils and cabin controls.

Check out FMG's quad bike guide for more advice

2020's bad news; 17 fatalities before the year is even over

In 2019, 15 people were killed in on farm accidents according to WorkSafe statistics. 
This year from January to November, that number has already been surpassed with 17 deaths. 

And the number of on farm fatalities could still keep climbing with November being one of the deadliest months in 2019.

Last November four people were killed on the farm. That's four families who instead of opening Christmas presents with their loved ones and sitting around the table to enjoy the Christmas feast, were instead grieving.

This year, six people have been killed in incidents involving quads, with five of those being quad bike rollovers. 

Thirteen of this year's fatalities involved a vehicle of some kind, while falling hay bales, electrocution and a minor fall contributed to the remainder.

ACC said on average, five people died from quad bike-related accidents each year, and they received more than 1000 claims for work-related quad bike accidents, costing $12 million.

“It’s devastation, when your husband goes out one day and doesn’t come back. It’s nothing you ever anticipate."

Read Linda McLennan's story here

Keeping the COVID-19 health and safety momentum moving forward

As published in SafeGuard magazine, Safer Farms director Francois Barton reflects on the message that  In these unpredictable Covid times your organisation’s capacity to absorb and adapt to change makes all the difference.

"During a recent Zoom “speaking tour” of New Zealand, US health and safety guru Todd Conklin questioned whether the dramatically changed environment created by Covid-19 requires businesses to adopt different sorts of strategies to achieve success.

Businesses, he said, have been working diligently for a long time to try to create stable, reliable, and predictable performance. But then Covid-19 came along, and stability and predictability went out the window.
In fact, he used a term coined by the US military during the Cold War to describe the kind of environment we operate in now – VUCA, which stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. That’s not a bad description of what life’s been like for many of us this year.
Todd said that in this new VUCA world, traditional business tools and approaches aren’t necessarily going to work. This is particularly the case where they rely on businesses being able to forecast, plan and operate in a way that allows for little or no deviation from the plan. He argued that survival in a VUCA environment like Covid-19 is all about being able to cope with deviations from the plan.
Many businesses have long valued and prioritised efficiency and “cutting fat” as the pathway to success. That strategy has delivered growth and profitability for many, but it has also affected the ability to deal with uncertainty and rapid change. Indeed, this focus on efficiency over effectiveness can make even normal operational variability harder to manage safely.
Todd proposed some strategies he believes will better serve organisations needing to respond to this VUCA environment. The three that really stood out for me were:
In a VUCA environment, resilience is incredibly valuable, so it’s important that organisations actively cultivate it. The key to ensuring resilience is to build capacity. Capacity can include your IT platforms, the quality of your relationships across staff and customers, the skills and capabilities through the organisation, your balance sheet, and more. These capacities protect a business when things go wrong – they soften the landing and help bounce forward. Proposing a move from optimising for efficiency to optimising for resilience might seem controversial in the face of a pandemic-induced economic downturn. But Todd argues it is one of the best ways business owners can protect themselves from the uncertainty and volatility created by Covid-19.
The virus severely disrupted normal ways of working. Despite that, I know many businesses kept operating, adapted to new ways of doing things, and spotted and solved problems in flight. An almost universal component in those adaptive stories was the relationships they had fostered with their workers, clients, and suppliers.
Relationships are something we often take for granted, but they deserve to be explicitly valued. The pandemic showed that relationships delivered bottom line value. In fact, Todd argues that the businesses that did best during Covid-19 were the ones that had not only built strong relationships, they had shown generosity and reciprocity in the way they conducted these relationships. This is especially important to remember as we head into more austere economic times.
Businesses have a great opportunity to learn from how things were done differently during the various lockdown levels. Leadership teams will have plenty to contribute to this discussion. So too will the people who actually did the work. And by talking to them you will learn things about what actually happened in your business that you wouldn’t learn elsewhere.
It’s essential to find out how people managed to achieve success without the usual support or rules being in place. Todd proposed two questions to help unlock that worker experience:
• Where was it great to have freedom from management?
• Where did you need management’s support, but we weren’t there?
The responses to these questions aren’t just relevant to preparing for the next pandemic disruption, but also how to be a better more resilient business, regardless of what the future holds.
Remember, likelihood isn’t a strategy, ensuring the capacity to respond is."

Safer Farms' General Manager Tony Watson: Farmers reminded to adopt best practice and quit cutting corners

A casual 19-year-old Argentinian farmhand on a dairy farm was severely injured when he fell from a trailer drawbar while collecting calves at 25kmh. He will never walk again. 

He was in NZ on a working holiday, spoke English as a second language and had no previous farm work experience. 

It was discovered he was not inducted onto the farm, there was no hazard management system in place for the farm, he hadn't been trained or inducted to collect calves and there was no risk assessment done for the operation.  

What happens when we borrow ideas from others? On the face of it, standing on the drawbar of a moving vehicle to collect calves doesn’t look much different to rubbish truck runners leaping off to collect rubbish bags. Both jobs require people to carry out this physical work in all weather, on uneven and slippery surfaces, often with poor visibility due to darkness, rain or sunstrike.

It’s easy to see why some farmers may allow this practice on their farms – it looks faster and more efficient, and possibly it is. Until something goes wrong. The big difference is that rubbish trucks are designed to accommodate runners, with steps, platforms and handles. Trailer drawbars have none of these features; add undulating surfaces and a driver who probably can’t see or hear their co-worker, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.


When carrying out any tricky work on farm, or when introducing new ways of working to improve productivity, always ask these simple questions:
What could go wrong?
What am I doing about it?
Is that enough? (Keep asking until the answer to this question is Yes)
Language barriers
Many farms rely on workers from overseas for part or all of the year. They may be travellers looking for a few months’ work, or experienced farm workers who enjoy working long term on our farms. Either way, they may not be aware of what the legal requirements are in New Zealand.
They may not be aware they can ask for more training or supervision if they don’t know how to do a job, or if they don’t feel safe. And there are some cultures whose people don’t feel comfortable challenging work orders, who would rather “say yes to the boss” than be seen to challenge authority.

When working with people from different cultures, find ways to make sure both parties understand each other. This could involve using visual aids (including photos), a translator or multi-lingual colleagues.

The right paperwork
Farmers have well-honed bullshit detectors. They can see that folders, signs and paperwork don’t make the farm any safer. Unfortunately, many have been led to believe that health and safety is about compliance and “ticking the box”, falsely thinking that they will fool the regulator by buying or modifying templates and safety folders to give the right impression. They’d be better off with no paperwork than having a folder or safety system they’re not actually using.
Make safety part of everyday business – and keep records of these discussions (photos, diary notes, Apps). Make sure people working on farm know what to do, have been shown the hazards and understand the risks, are competent and are able to do the job safely.

Carry out decent inductions with new workers (there are plenty of industry resources), make sure workers understand, and keep records showing what was done. Make sure people are trained and records are kept. This is the right kind of paperwork.

Summer is coming 

"Vehicles and machinery feature in almost 90 per cent of fatal workplace accidents on farms."

Harvesting, cultivating, bayling, silage, weaning - say hello to those heavier workloads if you're a farmer or working with farmers!

With more sunlight hours, it often means we try to cram more into the day, especially with the pressures of Christmas time, and potentially some time off for you or your workers looming.

Close work with animals, many large vehicles coming and going, contractors on farm and heavy use of tractors and machinery means we need to go the extra mile to make sure we’re looking after ourselves, our people and keeping our brains switched on.

Taking a short cut and being complacent can end up costing you more down the line, whether that’s because you’ve hurt the machinery or worse, hurt yourself.

Prioritising time before a bad decision is made needs to be at the forefront of our minds. 

Sit back and think, "what could happen", especially when you're tired. 

As Chris Biddles'' said "the decision you make on your quad bike at 2pm, you wouldn’t necessarily make at 8am". 

Recognise fatigue and do something about it and realise, if a job doesn’t get done, it’s not the end of the world.

If you've got family coming over for Christmas, they can always lend a hand but remember to run through those safety checklists first off to keep everyone safe. 

There’s always another day and if you’re struggling with everything that needs to be done, reach out for help to family, friends or a neighbour – remember, more hands make light work!
Sometimes you can do with a chat with someone who gets your issues because they've been there before. 
Rural Support Trusts have local rural people who know from experience that severe weather, finances, relationships and work pressures can mount up. 
Visit the website here 
Free call or text 1737 any time, 24 hours a day. You’ll get to talk to (or text with) a trained counsellor or talk to a peer support worker.

Here are some wise words from our mates

Fatigue on 4 wheels: How a farmer’s life flipped upside down

You're more likely to get injured when you're stressed and not looking after your wellbeing. 

New research shows over half of people injured on the farm had something else going on between their ears which resulted in their accident or injury. 

The major factor was having too much to do and not enough time. 

The second major was fatigue and exhaustion, followed up by lack of sleep, challenges coping with the ups and downs of farming and feeling in need of a break away from the farm. 
Read the stats here

Kids on farm

Summer means summer visitors, and children on holidays, wanting to be out playing or mucking in on the farm. 
Check out Beef + Lamb's advice on how to keep safe this summer here.

Pāmu is committed to ensuring that everyone works together to set a high safety standard and act as excellent role models to our kids on farm.
Download the Pamu Kids on Farm policy here, to help guide you. 

Make the most of training inaitatives in the woolshed

Every year over 9,000 days are lost to injury in the wool sector. That’s a lot of pain for no gain.
Tahi Ngātahi aims to reduce injuries in the shed by 30% and build a stronger, more skilled workforce. To date, over 1,000 trainees and shearing contractors have signed up. Learn more here


Safer Farms joins Dr Tom on a mission 

Safer Farms' Harriet Bremner had the privilege of joining the legendary Dr Tom Mullholland in Ashburton for his Dr Tom’s Walk the Talk Wellness Tour. 

He's travelling around the South Island on a 10 week tour in a bid to be 'the ambulance at the TOP of the cliff'.  

His retro Chevy ambulance is a pop up medical clinic testing people for pre-diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol and talking about smoking. 
"Remember that health IS safety. You would take your cow or sheep to the vet so make sure you prioritise your own personal health so you can keep doing what you love."
Read more about "Walk The Talk" here

Quad bike rollover protection subsidy 

The KYND app was developed by Dr Tom after his first ever mission in his ambulance. He created it because he was finding really important results for people he was testing in the community, but found they had no where to store this data or to make a difference form it.

Did you know that ACC can help you financially to install crush protection devices on your quad bikes?
On average, five people die from quad bike-related accidents each year, and ACC receives over 1,000 claims for work-related quad bike accidents, costing $12 million.

If you’re self-employed or own a small to medium-sized business in the agriculture sector, you might be eligible for a workplace injury prevention subsidy to help pay for a crush protection device (CPD) for quad bikes at work.

Check out more info here and to see if YOU'RE eligible

When asked what concerned Tracey about the health, safety and wellbeing of those in rural industries and communities, she mentioned the inability to deal with stress when the tank is empty.

Reflecting on her own experiences, she describes the temptation to ‘just suck it up and deal with it’ – however upon seeking help from a professional, she allowed herself to take a step back, put things into perspective and adopt strategies to navigate the intensities in life.

Counting her blessings to work for a company that prioritises health, safety and wellbeing, Tracey knows just how important it is to weave those discussions into regular meetings – not only for staff, but for business performance and staff retention.

A staunch advocate for crystallising health, safety and wellbeing at the forefront of the minds of leaders, Tracey also reinforces just how critical it is to and get employee buy-in by making them an integral part of the decision making process.

Read Tracey's story here

Safer Farms' Members

Want to be a member? Check it out here.

Copyright © | 2020 | Safer Farms | All rights reserved.

Safer Farms
Innovation Park, 185 Kirk Road
PO Box 23141. Templeton 8445

Call 027 705 6024 

This newsletter contains facts, views, opinions, statements and recommendations of third party individuals and organisations. Safer Farms does not represent or endorse the accuracy, correctness or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other information displayed or distributed this email. You acknowledge that any reliance upon any such opinion, advice, statement or information shall be at your sole risk.  Safer Far,s does not favor one group over another, and any references herein to any organisations, specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, do not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement or recommendation by Safer Farms.

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Safer Farms · 1071 Newtons Road · Rolleston · Christchurch, Canterbury 7675 · New Zealand

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