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  • Rikki Lambert

Southern Victorian hay baler tragedy takes primary industries death toll to 9

A 47-year-old farm worker has died after becoming entrapped in a hay baler at Swan Marsh on Tuesday.

Worksafe Victoria say the man's arm was caught and dragged into the machine at about 3:45pm and they are conducting an investigation.

The tragedy brings the state's workplace fatality toll to 62 for 2021, whilst in the 2021 calendar year to date, nine lives have been lost in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry, the same as this time last year.

Farm workers, farmers and their family members are overrepresented in workplace deaths, with Victorian agriculture is among the state’s most dangerous industries, accounting for approximately 14 per cent of workplace deaths despite making up just two per cent of the state’s workforce.

Incidents involving vehicles and heavy machinery accounted for the majority of workplace deaths on farms in 2020 and Worksafe Victoria say that machinery and livestock continue to be among the most common hazards for farmers.

WorkSafe’s hard-hitting farm safety campaign "It’s never you, until it is" – is challenging bulletproof attitudes to safety and changing the mindset that a serious incident will never happen to you, a family member or a worker.

Early evaluation of the campaign shows it had significant cut-through with a survey showing 81 per cent of farmers recalled seeing or hearing the campaign and its tagline, while more than half were prompted by the campaign to have conversations about safety.


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