A recent incident in which a farm worker was injured while carrying out maintenance on a grain auger has prompted WorkCover NSW to issue a safety reminder.
A Narrabri yard hand received severe lacerations to the top of his right forearm while replacing shear bolts on the drive shaft of a grain auger.
He was lying beside the machine while performing the maintenance, and when the work was completed he accidentally pressed his foot against the start button.
As a result his arm was struck by the auger blades, causing the injury.
According to general manager of WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Division John Watson, the accident demonstrates the risks of working with grain augers.
“Using augers is a hazardous operation with numerous risks that must be controlled,” said Mr Watson in an April 10 statement.
“The incident highlights the need for farms and rural workplaces to be vigilant about safety at all times when working with and around augers,” said Mr Watson.
WorkCover recommends that before carrying out maintenance, repairs, installation or cleaning of augers, a number of steps should be taken to minimise the risk of accidents occurring.
These include ensuring users receive adequate training and supervision, that the auger is structurally sound and stable, and that there is an emergency stop fitted to all machines.
It is also recommended that the drive source is isolated, locked out and tagged at the power source before performing maintenance on augers.
Mr Watson reminded farm owners and workers that WorkCover provided free checklists for the safe use of augers, silos, field bins and chaser bins, as well as a range of other material for reducing risks and improving safety in rural workplaces.
“We want all workers to come home safely at the end of the working day and I urge all farms and rural workplaces to spend 15 minutes today identifying and addressing any farm safety risks,” Mr Watson concluded.
A report released by Safe Work Australia on March 13 revealed that, on average, 44 farm workers are killed each year and 17,400 suffer from a work-related injury.
Safe Work chair Ann Sherry said that these were “significant figures” but didn’t reflect the further effects on families, work colleagues and communities.
Anyone injured while on the job in NSW may be entitled to claim for workers compensation.