Farm worker killed by reversing trailer in a paddock

An alert highlighting the importance of maintaining designated safe areas and effective communication when operating mobile plant in the vicinity of people.
Safety alert published

Thursday 02 Apr 2020

Industries and topics
  • Agriculture
  • Plant hazards

Background

A farm worker was struck and killed by a lunch trailer. The incident occurred while the trailer was being moved closer to workers in a paddock.

Safety issues

Moving heavy equipment on farms (including in paddocks) creates risks to the health and safety of nearby workers and other people, particularly if the operator is unable to see other people or objects at all times.

Recommended ways to control risks

To reduce the risks to health and safety when operating heavy equipment on farms, employers and self-employed persons should ensure that:

  • all people in the vicinity of equipment are kept within the line of sight of machine operators, or within designated safe areas
  • other workers, bystanders and children are kept away from the work area
  • appropriate communication methods are used to confirm safety clearances, for example, handheld radios and spotters
  • machinery operators are trained and understand the risks of the tasks that they are undertaking

Legal duties

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, employers must provide and maintain, so far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment for their employees and independent contractors that is safe and without risks to health.

Employers and self-employed persons must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that other people are not exposed to risks to their health or safety arising from the conduct of the undertaking of the employer or self-employed person.

Employers must provide or maintain plant or systems of work that are safe and without risks to health, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Employers and self-employed persons must also eliminate, or if not reasonably practicable, reduce the risk of powered mobile plant colliding with pedestrians or other powered mobile plant so far as is reasonably practicable. Powered mobile plant must also be fitted with a warning device if there is a likelihood of powered mobile plant colliding with pedestrians or other powered mobile plant.

Employers must provide employees with the necessary information, instruction, training or supervision to enable them to do their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health.

Further information