Farm tragedy - Mans­field man dies at work

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - NEWS -

A LO­CAL man has been trag­i­cally killed in a farm­ing ac­ci­dent at Bar­jarg, near Mans­field.

On Mon­day, July 24, the 56-year-old was feed­ing out on his em­ployer’s prop­erty when the in­ci­dent oc­curred at about 3pm.

The man in­volved was able to phone for help im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the ac­ci­dent, with a friend ar­riv­ing at the scene shortly after and ad­min­is­ter­ing first aid while wait­ing for emer­gency ser­vices.

Paramedics ar­rived, but the man died at the scene.

The trac­tor, which had a hay feeder trailer at­tached, was found in a dam about 130 me­tres away.

WorkSafe was on site last month, and will con­tinue to in­ves­ti­gate the in­ci­dent.

It is the sev­enth fa­tal­ity to oc­cur on a Vic­to­rian farm this year.

Na­tional Farm Safety Week was last month, and the Bar­jarg ac­ci­dent is a sober­ing re­minder of how dan­ger­ous farm work can be.

“Agriculture is the big­gest em­ployer in our ru­ral and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties,” Fed­eral Agriculture and Wa­ter Re­sources Min­is­ter, David Lit­tleproud, said.

“Given this, we need to be lead­ers in safety - for our farm­ers, their fam­i­lies, for ev­ery em­ployee and ev­ery­one in our com­mu­ni­ties.

“From ve­hi­cle and trac­tor safety, to work­ing with chem­i­cals and an­i­mals, to deal­ing with stress and men­tal health or the safety of older farm­ers and chil­dren — a range of is­sues must be openly dis­cussed and ad­dressed.”

There were 18 deaths on Vic­to­rian prop­er­ties in 2017 – the high­est in the coun­try, along­side NSW.

A to­tal of 68 deaths were recorded on Aus­tralian farms in 2017; nine of those in­volved a child aged 15 years or younger.

An ad­di­tional 179 non-fa­tal in­juries were also listed.

Just over three-quar­ters of agri­cul­tural fa­tal­i­ties be­tween 2010 and 2014 in­volved farm ve­hi­cles – pri­mar­ily trac­tors, quad bikes or heavy ma­chin­ery.

In 2016, there were an es­ti­mated nine deaths in­volv­ing trac­tors, and a fur­ther eight caus­ing se­ri­ous in­jury.

Travis Few­ster, of Mau­rice Black­burn Lawyers Wan­garatta, said while farms make up only three per cent of the Aus­tralian work­force, they ac­count for al­most one third of all work-re­lated deaths in Vic­to­ria.

“Sadly, all too of­ten I see the dev­as­tat­ing im­pact ac­ci­dents such as th­ese can have on ru­ral work­ers, their loved ones and even the wider com­mu­nity – many of th­ese events are pre­ventable,” Mr Few­ster said.

“Farm work­ers are reg­u­larly re­quired to man­age or use large equip­ment, such as trac­tors and quad bikes, or work in un­pre­dictable en­vi­ron­ments, in­clud­ing with live an­i­mals or in iso­lated or re­mote ar­eas.

“It’s im­por­tant that the proper train­ing and safety pro­ce­dures are in place to pro­tect peo­ple.

“I urge lo­cal farm­ers to pri­ori­tise safety and well­be­ing for work­ers – it could mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween life and death or a life-chang­ing in­jury,” Mr Few­ster said.

For in­for­ma­tion on how to make your prop­erty safer, visit www.farm­safe.org.au.

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