Farm death

Worksafe is investigating a fatality in which a farm worker died after being crushed between a tip truck and a front end loader on a property at Cowwarr last week.

WorkSafe believes the 55-year-old man was trapped while grain pellets were being unloaded from the truck into the loader’s bucket when the loader moved forward.

Agriculture is among Victoria’s most dangerous industries, accounting for about 14 per cent of workplace deaths, despite making up just two per cent of the state’s workforce.

There have been 28 workplace fatalities in 2022, however seven of these deaths were in the agriculture, fishing and forestry industry.

WorkSafe has accepted 208 injury claims from workers in the agriculture sector in the past six months to the end of June this year.

The Cowwarr death follows another ag-sector incident this month in which a 66-year-old maintenance worker died after falling through a polycarbonate roof panel on a shed at a Monbulk plant nursery.

In late June, an 82-year-old farmer died after becoming entrapped in a harvesting machine on a property at Gembrook.

WorkSafe health and safety executive director Narelle Beer said it was crucial for farmers to prioritise workplace safety by assessing any risks before undertaking a task.

“Farmers know their land better than anybody, but experience alone doesn’t make you immune to workplace tragedy,” Ms Beer said.

“It often takes only small changes – such as planning ahead or ensuring machinery is properly maintained – to make a big difference to farm safety.”

The regulator offers a free program to manage farm safety and has an Agriculture Strategy to reduce fatalities and serious injuries through behavioural change.

WorkSafe stressed that all Victorian employers, including those in agriculture, must do everything they can to protect the health and safety of their workers.

Inspectors also regularly visit farms to make sure employers meet their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and action can be taken if these obligations are not met.

Source: Gippsland Times

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