Safety first on farms a must to stem injuries
There are continuing calls for a ‘safety first’ approach across the State’s farms as a central New South Wales man was convicted and fined $50,000 after a worker sustained serious injuries in 2020.
Drew Charles McLauchlan who, in a family partnership, operated a business known as Declem Pastoral was sentenced in the Downing Centre Local Court, Sydney for a breach of section 19/32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for failing to ensure as far as reasonably practicable the health and safety of workers
DCS Better Regulation Division Deputy Secretary and NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Natasha Mann said the court heard that a then 22-year-old man in the business’s employ had part of his leg severed by an operating, unguarded piece of inground machinery while he was helping to clear grain from a silo.
“In the case before the court, the worker was employed by a family-owned and operated farm with interests in sheep and beef cattle farming, as well as grain,” Ms Mann said.
“On the day of the incident, the farmhand was shovelling and sweeping grain inside a silo. The defendant had removed floor guards from access points to an inground grain auger, which had a motorised, twisting metal segment that was conveying produce from the silo to a waiting truck.”
The court heard part of the worker’s left leg was severed above the knee when he stepped backwards into one of the grain auger’s unguarded access points. The business offered no formal training for workers and had no documented work system at the time of the incident.
During sentencing on 9 August 2022, the court heard that Mr McLauchlan had expressed sincere remorse following the incident. The business has since developed a safe work procedure for cleaning the silo and operating its grain auger.
Mr McLauchlan has the right to appeal the sentence.
“We are asking all New South Wales agribusinesses to be vigilant about their safe work planning, and relentless about ensuring that the management and workforce are properly trained,” Ms Mann said. “This is a must if we are to stem the tide of injuries.”
“We are investing in continuous education across industries, including agribusiness, to help ensure workplaces are safe places.”
Eligible small businesses in New South Wales may apply for a $1000 rebate upon successful completion of online safety training. It’s called Small Business Easy To Do WHS and it’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
New South Wales businesses are urged to visit the SafeWork NSW website twice a week, every week, for all the latest news about working safely and any changes associated with legal obligations.
Eligible small businesses in regional New South Wales including agribusinesses may apply for a free workplace advisory visit from experienced, accredited SafeWork inspectors.
A silo safety self-assessment check list is available.