Planting machine crushes and kills worker

Friday, 26 April, 2019

Planting machine crushes and kills worker

A Queensland worker has died on a rural property after he was crushed by the wheels of a planting machine.

According to a Workplace Health and Safety Queensland incident report, the worker was operating a tractor that was towing the planting machine when the accident occurred in March 2019.

The alert said that for reasons not yet established, the worker got off the tractor while it was moving forward. He then walked around the planting machine to its front wheel, where he was out of sight of the other six workers seated on the planting machine. As the tractor crept forward without its operator, the worker became trapped under the wheel of the planting machine and was fatally crushed. Investigations are continuing.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland said that tractors are usually quite safe when operated properly, but become dangerous if incorrectly used. They have been involved in more deaths than any other piece of rural machinery. Tractor run-overs are mainly linked to:

  • starting a tractor from the ground
  • carrying passengers (usually children) on tractors
  • attempting to get on or off a moving tractor.

The incident report said that designers and/or manufacturers should provide, and the supplier should distribute, information about what the tractor has been designed to do. This information should include any precautions necessary to ensure the safe operation of the tractor. PCBUs and operators can find this information in operators’ manuals, information guides and training programs.

According to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, such information should cover:

  • tractor specifications: power, output, load carrying capacity and ability to pull loads
  • tractor operational data: power take-off procedures, implement specifications and manufacturers’ instructions for use
  • tractor servicing and maintenance.

Image credit: © Kostic

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