WorkSafe New Zealand has launched a new side-by-side vehicle simulator to try to get the message about wearing seatbelts to click with farmers.
Federated Farmers vice president and spokesperson for workplace health and safety Karen Williams and the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Wood gave the simulator a go at the Wellington demo this week.
The virtual reality simulator allows a driver to sit in the seat of a retired side-by-side vehicle and navigate a series of farm safety tasks while driving an off-road course. The first task is putting on your seatbelt.
WorkSafe’s analysis on vehicle-related fatalities showed that numbers could be reduced by around 50% if seatbelts were worn.
“Putting on your seatbelt is the simplest task and one we practice easily when driving on the open road, so if we can get people doing this on farm as well, we will see lives saved,” Al McCone, WorkSafe Engagement Lead for Agriculture, says.
Karen Williams talks to farmers about safety often and says it’s clear many of them find the task of taking a belt off and putting it on again while on the farm is an inconvenience. However, when you get farmers to look at the bigger picture, the message can get through.
“You haven’t lost an hour out of your day, you’ve lost a few minutes. It doesn’t equate,” she says.
WorkSafe Chief Executive Phil Parkes talked at the demo about focusing more on family-oriented discussions to get through to the older generations that a seatbelt needs to be worn. WorkSafe believes younger people can get into the habit early on.
The purpose of the Wellington demo was to engage key industry representatives and organisations before they begin travelling provincial New Zealand and setting up demos at agricultural fieldays as well as the FMG Young Farmer of the Year competition.