Efforts to Reduce Farming Dangers Showing Progress04 February 2013
NEW ZEALAND – Farm safety and rural depression initiatives have had positive effects on the welfare of the rural population, according to Federated Farmers of New Zealand.
Quad bike accidents are down 17 per cent and incidents of serious harm are down ten per cent, according to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) research. Data is showing that farmers are adopting health and safety as good business practice, said FFNZ.
The MBIE has confirmed a 16 per cent rise in the number of people wearing bike helmets since 2010. Quad bike helmet sales doubled in 2012 to June which the industry has said is a sign of the farm safety message being widely understood.
Further successes have been seen regarding a rural mental health campaign ‘When Life’s a Bitch’.
Supported by a plethora of farming organisations such as; AgITO, Farmsafe, Rural Woman NZ, Rural Support Trust and Beef and Lamb NZ the campaign message has been spread by wallet sized cards and seen support from rural kiwis.
People are coming forward, wanting to share their stories and to help those who are struggling,” says Jeannette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Health & Safety spokesperson.
“It is heart warming to see fellow Kiwi’s reaching out to each other, given the disproportionate number of suicides in rural New Zealand. Not surprisingly we have been getting many emails of support.”
Federated Farmer’s website now has a page dedicated to Rural Mental Health, providing information, tools, contacts and people’s stories.
Several other organisations have also developed great initiatives to improve rural mental wellbeing.
Rural Woman New Zealand has just released their Feeling Rotten survey and there is also the Dairy Farmer Wellness and Wellbeing Programme, focused on rural mental and physical health, which is run by the Dairy Women’s Network, Dairy NZ, the New Zealand Institute of Rural Health and AgResearch.