Farm tragedy – Mansfield man dies at work

North East & Goulburn-Murray Farmer

LOCAL man has been tragically killed in a farming accident at Barjarg, near Mansfield.

On Monday, July 24, the 56-year-old was feeding out on his employer’s property when the incident occurred at about 3pm.

The man involved was able to phone for help immediately following the accident, with a friend arriving at the scene shortly after and administering first aid while waiting for emergency services.

Paramedics arrived, but the man died at the scene.

The tractor, which had a hay feeder trailer attached, was found in a dam about 130 metres away.

WorkSafe was on site last month, and will continue to investigate the incident.

It is the seventh fatality to occur on a Victorian farm this year.

National Farm Safety Week was last month, and the Barjarg accident is a sobering reminder of how dangerous farm work can be.

“Agriculture is the biggest employer in our rural and regional communities,” Federal Agriculture and Water Resources Minister, David Littleproud, said.

“Given this, we need to be leaders in safety – for our farmers, their families, for every employee and everyone in our communities.

“From vehicle and tractor safety, to working with chemicals and animals, to dealing with stress and mental health or the safety of older farmers and children — a range of issues must be openly discussed and addressed.”

There were 18 deaths on Victorian properties in 2017 – the highest in the country, alongside NSW.

A total of 68 deaths were recorded on Australian farms in 2017; nine of those involved a child aged 15 years or younger.

An additional 179 non-fatal injuries were also listed.

Just over three-quarters of agricultural fatalities between 2010 and 2014 involved farm vehicles – primarily tractors, quad bikes or heavy machinery.

In 2016, there were an estimated nine deaths involving tractors, and a further eight causing serious injury.

Travis Fewster, of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers Wangaratta, said while farms make up only three per cent of the Australian workforce, they account for almost one third of all work-related deaths in Victoria.

“Sadly, all too often I see the devastating impact accidents such as these can have on rural workers, their loved ones and even the wider community – many of these events are preventable,” Mr Fewster said.

“Farm workers are regularly required to manage or use large equipment, such as tractors and quad bikes, or work in unpredictable environments, including with live animals or in isolated or remote areas.

“It’s important that the proper training and safety procedures are in place to protect people.

“I urge local farmers to prioritise safety and wellbeing for workers – it could mean the difference between life and death or a life-changing injury,” Mr Fewster said.

For information on how to make your property safer, visit

More farming news and stories can be read in the August, 2018 print edition of North East & Goulburn-Murray Farmer or click here to access digital editions.