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Farm deaths have increased over the past year, says a recent report from The University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety.

The report is based on farm injury events and non-farm quad bike fatalities reported in the Australian print media from 1 January to 31 December 2015.

Farm injury fatalities totalled 69 in 2015, compared with 54 in 2014.

Of the 69 deaths, six involved a child aged 15 years and younger, and 15 of the most reported incidents involved quad bikes, 13 involved tractors and seven involved mobile-plant/machinery, according to the report.

Some 92 non-fatal on-farm injury events were also reported for the same period. Nine involved children aged 15 years and younger. Quad-related injuries accounted for 41 of all incidents.

Off-farm, an additional 29 quad bike-related injuries were reported.

For more details, visit the report.

Published on 28 January 2016 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today

A Victorian dairy company has been fined $40,000 following the death of farm worker on a working holiday from the UK.

The farm worker was hit by a prime mover as he crossed the Timboon-Colac Rd in Bungador, while driving one of the farm’s quad bikes on 4 February 2014, according to a WorkSafe media statement.

WorkSafe investigated the incident and found the quad bike driven by the worker and a second quad bike on the farm had defective brakes and none of the farm workers wore helmets when driving them.

Although the cause of the fatal incident wasn’t alleged to be faulty brakes and the failure to wear a helmet, such failings were in breach of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, WorkSafe said.

The dairy company, Foscor Pty Ltd, was charged and persecuted in the Colac Magistrates’ Court in September for failing to provide and maintain safe plant and a system of work for its employees. The company pleaded guilty, was fined $40,000 and ordered to pay costs of $5051.

“This man had only recently arrived in Australia from the UK with his girlfriend to begin a working holiday of a lifetime. Instead, his girlfriend, family and friends are now living with a lifetime of grief,” said WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, in the media statement.

For more details, visit WorkSafe

Published on 8 October 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has been fined $220,000 following the shooting of two soldiers.

The fine was handed down in the Federal Court of Australia in Canberra last week.

During a night training exercise at the Cultana Training Area near Whyalla, South Australia, in October 2009, a Special Forces soldier was fatally shot in the head and another soldier was wounded by a gunshot to his left arm.

Among the findings, the Court heard that the ADF training manual failed to require that a risk management plan or risk assessment be prepared for each separate training exercise. This led to the implementation of inadequate risk management and assessment, particularly when live ammunition was used and fired.

Also, a number of the individuals failed to meet their employment standards. “Those failures mainly concerned the miscommunications caused by the last-minute briefings and the failure to ensure that appropriately qualified persons were appointed to the relevant tasks involved in the exercises and had been fully and adequately briefed by other appropriately qualified persons,” said Justice Lindsay Foster in his judgment.

The case reinforced the need for employers to take every practicable step to ensure the safety of their workforce, Comcare CEO Jennifer Taylor said in a media statement.

“This is particularly important for work that is inherently dangerous, as is the case with many tasks performed by Defence personnel,” she added.

For more details, visit the case

Published on 27 August 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email.  Subscribe online today.

Fifteen more people have died in work-related incidents, according to the latest notifiable fatalities report from Safe Work Australia.

The deaths occurred in March and included 12 male workers, one female worker, one male bystander and one female bystander.

Four of the fatalities involved a vehicle incident – public road crash, three involved a vehicle incident not on a public road, and two each involved crushing and drowning.

The remaining four fatalities involved a pedestrian hit by a vehicle (public road), a fall from a height, a vehicle incident (air crash) and a fall on the same level.

For more details, visit notifiable reports

Published on 2 July 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.

Lifetime care and support options for people who suffer a catastrophic injury from a workplace incident are now on the table.

The federal government has released a consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) to canvass the cost benefit impact of the regulatory options of introducing a National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS).

The RIS includes the case for introducing minimum benchmarks, retaining existing workers compensation arrangements or harmonising workers compensation schemes.

“Under the minimum benchmarks all workers will be entitled to lifetime care and support regardless of their age, and workers will not need to navigate two schemes,” according to the RIS.

“The costs of the increased entitlements would be paid by employers through increased premiums under the minimum benchmarks. Per workplace, the increase in premiums would be modest and would reflect the increased funding necessary to provide lifetime care and support.”

Under the option of retaining the existing workers compensation arrangements, workers compensation premiums would not change. “[As] a result, the incentive for employers to address workplace safety is arguably reduced,” according to the RIS.

“Governments would fund the costs of topping up the care and support levels for those who are eligible for the NDIS [National Disability Insurance Scheme]. Workers aged 65 and over at the time of their accident would be unable to have their gaps in coverage provided by the NDIS.”

The harmonisation option is referred to in the RIS as “extremely difficult”. “To the extent that jurisdictions are able to reach agreement it would likely result in a watered down scheme where fewer workers are eligible and where eligible workers are entitled to lower service levels than occur under some existing schemes,” according to the RIS.

For more details, visit the RIS.

Published on 12 March 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.

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