WorkSafe is advising farmers to buckle up after an analysis of vehicle-related fatalities found that nearly half those that occur on farm could have been avoided if a seatbelt was being used.

The data analysis, completed by WorkSafe New Zealand, revealed that not wearing seatbelts while on the job was the largest single factor contributing to fatal work-related accidents.

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.

“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.

“If we can get people doing this on farm as well – we will see lives saved.”

Today 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,” said McCone.

Watch our new advertisement(external link) encouraging seatbelt use in farm vehicles. 

For our advice on seatbelt use in the workplace, see seatbelts at work


On farm -

  • If all agricultural workers wore seatbelts, claim costs to ACC could be reduced by almost $2 million a year.
  • Non-seatbelt use was relevant in 40% of vehicle-related fatalities on farm and 27% of all fatalities on farm.
  • Of every 10 fatalities where seatbelt use may have been relevant, 9 people were not wearing them.
  • The older you are the more likely you are to injure yourself from not wearing a seatbelt in an on farm incident.

All industries -

  • Not wearing a seatbelt contributes to 52 per cent of all vehicle-related deaths and 15 per cent of all work-place fatalities (in any industry). That’s around 10 lives a year.
  • More than 44% of all fatalities involved vehicles working on off-road work-sites – including agricultural, transport and warehousing, manufacturing, and construction settings.


Media contact details

For more information you can contact our Media Team using our media request form. Alternatively, you can:

Phone: 021 823 007 or

Email: media@worksafe.govt.nz