Farm death, injury toll continues to rise during harvest

THE deaths of two farmers in less than a week and the hospitalisation of two farm workers with life-threatening injuries has prompted WorkSafe to issue an urgent call for those working on farms to remain extra vigilant.
Nanjing Night Net

Three of the incidents in the past week, including a fatality last Monday, involved harvesting or grass-cutting operations.

A 68-year-old man died yesterday when he was run-over by a tractor and slasher he had been repairing near Elmhurst.

Two other men working as contractors near Yarram in South Gippsland and Nalinga near Violet Town were also badly hurt at the weekend when machinery re-activated as blockages were cleared.

The weekend’s incidents follow the death of a man near Nagambie last Monday who was crushed when a hydraulic failure resulted in a slasher coming down on him as he worked to remove tangled wire underneath.

WorkSafe’s General Manager of Operations, Lisa Sturzenegger said the past week built on a tragic year which included nine of the state’s18 work-related deaths happening on farms.

“Our weekend emergency response call-taker said it was the worst weekend he’d experienced in more than 15 years,” she said.

“It is only ythe start of the harvest season and with a bumper crop expected in most regions the dangers often seen in farming will be magnified, particularly if the weather turns and people rush to get crops in.

“Arguably, harvest time is the most dangerous time of year.

There are a variety of pressures and while we don’t believe most people will try to get crops in ‘at all costs’, they need to understand what can go wrong and prepare for it.”

Ms Sturzenegger said things could go wrong for experienced people.

“Just taking the time to think through the problem could make a life or death difference,” she said.

“Safety is about dealing with the potential risks whether you’ve done the job once or a thousand times. It’s about knowing what can go wrong – such as machinery blockages – and knowing what to do about it – safely.”

“The deaths, and there are too many, are the tip of the iceberg. Many incidents, including so-called ‘near-misses’ might also have killed or permantly injured in slightly different circumstances.

The recent incidents come after the launch of a WorkSafe’s statewide ‘Any Day Now’ campaign which reminds people of their obligations to health and safety.

“In all working environments our inspectors find the same problems over and over again. They’re generally basic matters that can be fixed at little or no cost, but if left undone can have devastating consequences,” Ms Sturzenegger said.

For more information on the campaign or information on making businesses safer visit: 梧桐夜网worksafe.vic.gov419论坛 or call WorkSafe’s advisory service on 1800 136 089.

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