WorkSafe WA in rural fatalities warning

Truck death sparks safety watchdog's alert over sector’s fatal accident rate in the past 10 months

May 9, 2013

WorkSafe WA has issued a rural safety alert over the sector’s rate of accidental deaths in the past 10 months.

Though the plea was for the agriculture sector as a whole, it was prompted by the death of a 65-year-old truck driver at a potato farm at Eastbrook near Pemberton on Tuesday.

The man was believed to have been run over when he attempted to gain access to a truck as it rolled down an incline.

"There have been six deaths in the agriculture sector since July 1 last year," WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch says.

"This equates to more than 35 percent of the total work-related deaths over this period.

"And since the agriculture sector only accounts for 3 percent of the workforce Australia-wide, it is a serious concern that the sector is so over-represented in the fatality statistics.

"These deaths are simply unnecessary and unacceptable, and everyone involved in agriculture – from farmers to industry associations to machinery dealers to manufacturers – has role to play in reducing the toll in the industry.

"It is crucial to ensure that farm machinery is designed safely and that it is operated in the correct manner. Everyone needs to understand how to operate the types of plant involved in agriculture and be acutely aware of the associated risks.

"Better awareness of safety is the only way to arrest this sad toll of absolutely unnecessary tragedies."

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