Farming community put on notice

Date: May 06, 2014

Workers in rural and regional NSW have been put on notice after a spate of recent fatalities in the farming and agricultural industries.

Three people have lost their lives in different incidents since March 20 and according to WorkCover NSW, there has already  been eight fatalities in the 2013-2014 period.

These deaths are concerning, particularly with the large number of employees working in one of the biggest industries in Australia.

In one incident, a 53-year-old truck driver died in Moree, Northern NSW after he was run over while watching another truck unload cotton bales from his truck to theirs.

Another man was killed on a farm at Pilliga, in North-West NSW, when the 73-year-old was hit by a tractor he was using to feed horses on the property.

Lastly, a 37 year-old man was electrocuted on a farm at Cudal, Central-West NSW. He was spraying weeds on the property from a tractor and the spray boom connected to the tractor hit an overhead power line.

WorkCover's Work Health and Safety Division General Manager John Watson said these tragedies could be avoided if safety was made a priority by all rural farm owners and employees.

"Farming is a high risk job and every farm-related death and injury has a devastating impact on families, communities and the industry," Mr Watson said.

"With many farm roles involving work in remote areas or in isolation away from emergency assistance and first aid, having safe work systems for farm workers is essential."

He noted that WorkCover NSW had developed a 15-minute farm safety checklist that farmers could use to create practical and sustainable way to improve safety on farms.

Some of the ways farmers can ensure the safety of themselves and their workers is by:

  • Notifying and educating employees about safety risks
  • Making sure everyone know how to use equipment before using it
  • Creating an emergency plan with resources available for use
  • Monitor young workers and teach them about safe practices
  • Store chemicals and hazardous materials according to manufacturer instructions

If you are injured while working on a farm, you may be eligible for compensation. Employees are urged to  seek legal advice from a lawyer who can deem the validity of your claim.

The compensation lawyers available for rural and regional workers operate on a no win no fee basis so they can advise you on your chances for success free of charge – if they think you have a case, it's completely up to you whether you engage their services.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.