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                        1 min read

                        Farm worker killed after entanglement in machinery

                        Farm worker killed after entanglement in machinery

                        A worker has been killed following a machinery entanglement incident on a farm in Western Australia.


                        It’s understood the worker was operating a tractor with a plastic mulch retriever (PMR) attached and was working alone at the time.


                        Investigations suggest the worker was at the rear of the tractor when the PMR was collecting close to 100 metres of plastic sheeting; the operator got caught in the spinning winder mechanism and suffered fatal injuries.


                        How can entanglement incidents like this be avoided?

                        In many instances, entanglement hazards can be controlled, the risks mitigated, and incidents prevented. In this particular case, WorkSafe Western Australia found that guarding the rotating components of the PMR was not practicable. Despite this, there were a number of other contributing factors that, had they been avoided or properly controlled, this tragic death could have been prevented. These contributing factors include:

                        • The operator was working alone.
                        • The PMR could only be stopped using controls inside the cabin.
                        • The PMR control lever had been held in the on position using a piece of string.
                        • The supplier of the PMR did not provide instructions for its safe operation.


                        Controls that could have been implemented to mitigate the risk of such an incident include:

                        • Ensuring workers understand the importance of not overriding or bypassing controls.
                        • Ensuring a minimum of two workers are involved in tasks that require a PMR attachment. This allows for one person to maintain control of the machine from the cabin and another person to act as a spotter for the PMR, ensuring plastic sheets are retrieved correctly and safely.
                        • Ensuring workers can adequately identify hazards and mitigate the risks they pose where appropriate.
                        • Ensuring workers understand the importance of keeping a safe distance from machinery components that could cause entanglement and reduce the risk of entanglement by not wearing loose fitting clothing, jewellery and tying back hair.


                        Need help reducing safety risks associated with your machinery?

                        The Ideagen Plant Assessor team can provide you with expert advice on the safety management of your fleet. Contact us on 1300 728 852 or for an obligation-free discussion.



                        Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information.

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