KIDS GRADUATE TO FARM SAFETY
15 SEPTEMBER 2015
Hundreds of rural kiwi kids are coming top of the class in farm safety.
More than 1,500 school children in Waikato are taking part in a pilot initiative to help them and their families stay safe on farms and thousands more are set to take part as the scheme grows.
Blue Light, with support from WorkSafe New Zealand, developed the Farm Safety Activity Book to improve kids’ knowledge of rural safety in and around the farm. The book tests their knowledge through a series of quizzes on a range of subjects, such as chemicals and poisons, firearms, behavior around livestock and vehicles.
Seventy three students from Wairakei Primary School are among the 1,500-plus students from 24 primary schools in the Waikato that are now graduating after completing the activity book. The initiative will be rolled out to another 48 schools across Waikato and the Bay of Plenty regions over the coming months.
“The activity book is helping kids and their families understand the simple steps they can take to reduce the chances of an accident happening on the farm,” says Al McCone, Agriculture Programme Manager at WorkSafe.
“It’s a fun and engaging way to reinforce how kids can still enjoy a traditional life on the farm, and stay safe and well,” he says. “Growing up on a farm gives New Zealand children valuable life skills, but that great lifestyle comes with specific risks and this programme helps them manage those.”
Mike Jackson, Operations Manager at Blue Light, said the activity book had been welcomed by both school children and their families. “The idea is for kids to take the activity book home with them and complete it alongside mum and dad. This initiative is not just about teaching kids to be safe on the farm, but also changing the attitudes of parents. This will help their families gain a better level of awareness of the dangers of living, working and visiting farms.”
- Twenty three children have died in workplace farm accidents since 2000.
- One in 12 people who die on farms are aged 15 years or under.
- Children are over-represented in farm-related deaths involving large animals, ponds, and light vehicles, including quad-bikes.
- Blue Light is a national youth charity that works with the NZ Police to empower youth.