WESTERN Australia’s WorkSafe Commissioner Darren Kavanagh will conduct an inquiry into the agricultural industry after the 12th work-related death in 12 months in the sector yesterday.
A 24-year-old man died yesterday between Varley Creek and Lake King in the Great Southern region.
He was moving a bogged vehicle with a tractor when the towing equipment he was using failed and he was struck in the head, causing fatal injuries.
“The statistics for the agricultural industry are not acceptable, and it is deeply concerning that the number of fatalities in the industry continues to increase,” Mr Kavanagh said.
“As the regulator, I have advised the minister of my intention to use my powers under the Work Health and Safety Act 2020 to conduct an inquiry into the industry, beginning with examining the tragic deaths of agricultural workers and family members over the past five years.
“The culture in the agriculture industry seems to allow fatal incidents to occur at significantly higher rates than any other industry, with farm production appearing to be put before the safety of families and workers.”
“The inquiry will aim to establish how to make changes in safety in the industry, and a report will be generated with recommendations on investigations and enforcement for consideration by the State Government.
“Any work-related death is a tragedy, and I offer my sincere condolences to the family of the worker involved in yesterday’s incident.”
As sad as any death is, this is going to happen again as it has been since farming started. Farming today now has to change its business model, both in farm safety and farm employment practice. A number of people left agriculture to work in other industries and found what “safe working” was all about; ei. hours worked with breaks, no continuous work, work wear and alcohol and drugs, and work induction training. The list could go on. Then farm owners or managers say if we do this for three weeks for three week’s work? “No way”. If farmers copied the model of the mining industry, it would be a start. Just saying, hope this can be a start.