Leading cause of work-related deaths


This contributes to 15 per cent of all of New Zealand’s work-place fatalities, or around 10 lives a year, a WorkSafe analysis reveals

Not wearing seatbelts while on the job was the largest single factor contributing to fatal work-related accidents, according to a data analysis completed by WorkSafe.

“Putting on your seatbelt is the simplest task and one we practice easily when driving on the open road, said Al McCone, WorkSafe Engagement Lead for Agriculture.

Not wearing a seatbelt contributes to 52 per cent of all vehicle-related deaths and more than 44% of all fatalities involved vehicles working on off-road work-sites – including agricultural, transport and warehousing, manufacturing, and construction settings.

The agricultural sector is of particular concern, where non-seatbelt use was relevant in 40% of vehicle-related fatalities on farms and 27% of total farm fatalities. Of every 10 fatalities where seatbelt use may have been relevant, 9 people were not wearing them.

If all agricultural workers wore seatbelts, claim costs to ACC could be reduced by almost $2 million a year.

The data analysis coincides with the launch of a new side-by-side vehicle simulator which will spend the next six months travelling New Zealand’s agricultural Fieldays and featuring in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year competition.

The 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.

The side-by-side began its road trip underneath the sails at Queens Wharf in Wellington, where WorkSafe invited key agricultural stakeholders the chance to try out the simulator before it headed into provincial New Zealand.

“We know that we need all of an industry to get on board with improving health and safety for us to see results. That’s why we seized the opportunity to get some of the city based agricultural representatives on board,” says McCone.