WorkSafe call on farmers to take care following spate of accidents

WorkSafe is calling on farmers to take extra care following a number of agriculture related fatalities throughout the state so far this year.   

In late March three men were killed in separate tractor accidents across the state, including a 68-year-old Meredith man who died from serious head injuries.   

A further two accidents in Springbank in late March left two men with serious injuries, with a man in his 20s severely hurt while using a chainsaw and a man in his 70s injured by a slasher. 

While overall agriculture WorkSafe claims in the Ballarat local government area fell from 14 in 2015 to nine in 2016, the industry is often underrepresented in these statistics given the number of independent operators. 

WorkSafe regional operations manager Trevor Butler said while compensation claims in agriculture remained low, farmers were continually over-represented in fatality figures. 

“Our research tells us that most fatalities occur when farmers are doing work they have done many times before,’ Mr Butler said. 

“Time pressures and older equipment could mean farmers are working harder and for longer hours and the work can be heavy and awkward and involve working alone for long periods of time.  While working alone is often unavoidable, reduce the risk by considering the work that has to be done and drawing up a plan to do it safely.”  

Reduce the risk by considering the work that has to be done and drawing up a plan to do it safely.

Trevor Butler - WorkSafe regional operations manager

Healthcare and social assistance continue to be the most highly represented industries throughout Ballarat, with 122 claims lodged in 2016, a rise of seven from the previous year.  Manufacturing also featured highly, with 98 claims lodged over the year, falling from 106 in 2015. 

Across the City of Ballarat 560 WorkSafe claims were lodged in 2016, down from 577 the previous year. 

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility that’s why we’re calling on all employers and workers to prioritise health and safety in their workplace,” Mr Butler said.