Tractor rollovers are far less frequent in Australia than in previous decades due, principally, to major safety campaigns and financial rebates for the compulsory fitting of rollover protection structures (ROPS). This fact makes the near death of a Victorian farmer on 17 August all the more surprising.
The most detailed report on the rescue, to the moment, is by Channel 7 but additional information is available from the ambulance service and through an audio statement* with the responding paramedic. The Channel 7 reporter states that the tractor had no ROPS and this is true, to an extent. SafetyAtWorkBlog has been advised that there was a ROPS for the tractor available on the farm but it had been detached.
At his early stage of the man’s recovery and incident investigation it is difficult to extrapolate OHS lessons or issues but any investigation is likely to ask about the risks of , amongst others,
- working alone
- the absence of ROPS
- the competence of the “hobby farmer”
- the working environment/terrain
- the use of a trailer with this tractor.
It is believed that WorkSafe will be undertaking an investigation.
*very interesting social media initiative from the ambulance services