WorkSafe Victoria has issued a reminder to businesses that use trailers to take care to only use them for the purpose for which they are designed.
WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said, “Attachments, including trailers, are vital pieces of equipment on farms but like any tool, they should only be used for the task they have been designed for.
“There is no safe way to ride on trailers and attachments that are not designed to carry passengers; there is a huge risk of falling, being thrown off or being crushed by loads that shift and fall.
“WorkSafe can and will take action against employers who are not taking the risks seriously and putting lives at risk.”
WorkSafe highlighted the risks with a number of examples of cases when people were seriously injured while riding on trailers, including the following:
- in March this year, a worker suffered serious injuries after falling from the trailer on which they were riding during burning-off work;
- in February, a 70-year-old worker suffered critical head injuries and later died in hospital after falling from a trailer being towed by a tractor;
- in 2020, a 68-year-old worker lost his life when he fell and was run over by a tractor and trailer in Somerville;
- in 2018, a 56-year-old farmer died after he was crushed while feeding stock using a tractor and trailer on a farm near Mansfield; and
- in 2017, a worker died when he fell from a trailer towed by an out-of-control tractor in Myrrhee.
To eliminate the risks when using trailers and attachments, WorkSafe reminds businesses to ensure that:
- workers never ride on attachments, including trailers, that are not specifically designed to carry passengers;
- if the attachment is designed to carry people, such as for planting or vegetable harvesting, it must provide protection from hazards, such as safe work platforms with handrails and guarding to reduce the risk of falls, ejection and entanglement;
- if the attachment is not designed to carry people, such as a fruit bin trailer, areas where there is the ability to ride on the trailer should be eliminated as far as reasonably practicable;
- workers have a safe mode of transport to access work locations and, where that is not available or the distance permits, workers walk to and from such locations;
- workers receive appropriate induction, training and supervision on the work they will be carrying out and the equipment they will be using; and
- there is an effective communication system between vehicle operators and workers around them.