Ireland is in the middle of what seems like a farm safety epidemic, but Australia has also been hit with a recent spate of increased farm fatalities.
There has been a recent trend of on-farm fatalities in the Western Australian region, which has led to warnings over the relaxed attitude to health and safety in the industry, as reported by abc.net.au. The calls have come after four separate accidents occurred in the region in the past six months.
The latest was the death of a 54-year-old man, who died whilst working on a tractor. The accident occurred in the Midwest Shire of Migenew area yesterday. It is understood that he was carrying out mechanical work when the vehicle rolled over on top of him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The latest tragedy comes after three other people also lost their lives in farm accidents in the past six months. The chairman of SafeFarmsWA, Mike Norton, confirmed this and said farm safety does not get a high enough priority within the industry.
"In these four particular incidents, they've all been very simplistic tasks which we do around the farm virtually every day of the week, and we've come up with these four tragedies," he said.
"Everybody, both in government and the agricultural industry, is getting extremely concerned at the way agriculture is reacting to safe practices on farm.", he added.
Mr. Norton continued by saying that WA farmers are among the best innovators in the world. But says they are “gung-ho” when it comes to farm safety.
"We've got to get more returns per hectare, we've got to have the best gear, we've got to do a whole range of things that really pushes the parameters and the viabilities of our farming enterprises, but when it comes to safety it's way down the list unfortunately," he said.
"Agriculture has to sit back and have a good analysis of itself as to what's happening on-farm...We have to change the way we run our businesses, otherwise, you're going to find that government is going to step in with some pretty draconian legislation very much like the mining industry.", he added.
Mr. Norton urged that with the grain harvest after commencing, farmers need to have a farm safety conversation. The latest accident was called an “unfortunate tragedy” by Sergeant Grant Rosman.
"The deceased was underneath the tractor doing some mechanical repairs while the tractor was running," he said.
"For reasons we are yet to determine, the tractor has engaged gear, or rolled forward, unfortunately, crushing him.
Sergeant Rosman said that although the incident was not being treated as suspicious, investigations were ongoing. He reported that nobody was driving the tractor at the time of the incident, but the vehicle has been seized pending further investigation.