Why wear a seatbelt?
Too many serious injuries and deaths happen on farms because people don't wear their seatbelts when operating or travelling in farm vehicles such as farm utes, tractors, side-by-sides or trucks.
If there's a collision or rollover, your seatbelt helps to keep you secured in your seat and protect you from sustaining serious or fatal injuries.
A seatbelt can only do its job if it's in good working condition and you're wearing it correctly.
When getting back into your vehicle after stopping to open or close a gate, always put your seatbelt back on.
These deaths are preventable
Many serious injuries and deaths happen because a seatbelt is not worn.
If you're not wearing a seatbelt and your vehicle rolls over, stops suddenly, or crashes into another object, this is what can happen:
- you're thrown around inside the vehicle cabin
- you may hit the protective frame (Rollover Protection Structure – ROPS /Falling Object Protection Structure - FOPS)
- you can be thrown partially or completely out of the vehicle
- you can be thrown against or through the windscreen
If you're thrown from the vehicle, there's a high risk that you'll be crushed between the vehicle and the ground. Don't think it won't happen to you.
The following are examples of actual farm vehicle incidents:
- the operator of a side-by-side farm vehicle was killed when the vehicle rolled and he was thrown from the vehicle
- the driver of a truck spreading fertiliser along steep terrain was thrown from the vehicle as it rolled over. The vehicle then rolled over him, causing fatal injuries
- a tractor driver was ejected from the vehicle when it hit an object in a grassy paddock. He suffered fatal head injuries
These fatalities may have been prevented if the operator had been wearing a seatbelt.
Keep yourself safe
Where ever and whenever you are driving a vehicle, accidents can happen.
If your vehicle has seatbelts, you and your passengers should wear them whenever the vehicle is in operation. Even if your tractor, side-by-side or other farm vehicle has an enclosed cabin, the seatbelts should be worn.
If there's no seatbelt, engage a competent person to retro fit a seatbelt to each seat in the vehicle, so far as is reasonably practicable.
Even with ROPS or FOPS fitted, if you hit another object or your vehicle rolls over, you could still sustain serious or fatal injuries if you're not wearing your seatbelt.
It only takes a few seconds to put on your seatbelt. It may cost you your life if you don't.
Employers are responsible for controlling health and safety risks in the workplace. This includes eliminating risks where it is reasonable and possible to do so. If a risk can't be eliminated, it must be reduced as much as possible. Seatbelts can be a suitable means to control the risk of being ejected from a farm vehicle.