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QTPA Member Alert |Workplace Health & Safety (31/1/14)

New film shows dangers of quad bikes

A new film showing how even the most experienced quad bike users can be severely injured if they don’t use quad bikes correctly or select the wrong vehicle for the job has been published by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

A rush of blood – The Miles Paterson story tells the story of an experienced cattleman who survived a serious quad bike incident. Miles describes the ‘rush of blood’ which caused him to accelerate his quad bike in pursuit of a rogue bull while traversing a creek bank. Riding without a helmet, he acknowledges the danger he put himself in. The bike flipped down the steep bank and landed on top of him. Despite being choppered out to hospital and a lengthy convalescence, Miles considers himself very lucky that his injuries weren’t more severe.

The film is the latest in a series of case study films that are a valuable training tool for use at toolbox talks and workplace inductions. Previous films in the case study format are available at Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s YouTube profile

View the film A rush of blood: The Miles Paterson story.

Chemical safety on the farm this summer

The use of chemicals on farms peaks in the summer months because of the high prevalence of pests, diseases and weeds. You must fully understand the potential dangers and get a safety data sheet (SDS) from the supplier before any application.

An SDS is required under work health and safety laws. It sets out what type of control measures must be used to minimise the risk of exposure to the applicator and other people, as well as other safety information including first aid provisions.

The product label will indicate the application rate, type of spray nozzle to be used, and what atmospheric conditions to spray in to obtain optimal effect from the chemical. The label will also indicate the best spray regime (drop spectrum) to avoid or minimise the chance of other people, animals or the environment being affected by spray drift.

Prior to any spray application, it is advisable to inform all neighbours who may be affected by any spray drift and discuss when you will be spraying and what chemical is being used.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland is revising its rural chemical guide to include changes to work health and safety laws. The guide, to be released later this year, contains advice for people working in the rural industry on managing risks to health and safety arising from the storage, use, transport and disposal of chemicals at rural workplaces.

For more information go to or call the WHS Infoline on 1300 369 915.

Help workers return to work with suitable duties

It is vital for injured workers to return to work as soon as possible after their injury, but unfortunately the agriculture industry has the lowest rate of return to work compared to other industries.

This situation can be overcome with suitable duties programs which encourage an early return to work. WorkCover Queensland Customer Services Manager, Agriculture, Kylie Maras, said where possible, a stay at work approach is best for rehabilitation – where a person can continue to work, with modified duties if required, to enable recovery at work.

Suitable duties are used to assist an early return to work, and these duties and hours at work are just as important as other treatments. Suitable duties allow people to:

  • develop confidence by gradually increasing tasks back to their usual job demands
  • maintain social contact and support
  • feel valued for what they contribute
  • create a positive workplace culture
  • contribute to productivity.


Kylie encouraged employers to think about what tasks are required, and whether these are within the person’s usual role or not, as these may be a stepping stone to normal tasks.

She suggested considering tasks with different positions (seated/standing) or tasks that could be performed one handed (weeding/painting), or sedentary tasks such as assisting with preparation of meals on live in properties, office work or online training modules.

“Work together with your WorkCover customer adviser and treating doctor to develop a suitable duties program that focuses on what can be done. It’s crucial to always focus on what the worker can do, rather than what they can’t do,” she said.

For more information on return to work, or suitable duties, visit or call 1300 362 128.

Report shows rural work among the most dangerous

A recent report by Safe Work Australia shows the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry was the second most dangerous behind transport, postal and warehousing in 2012.

The Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities, Australia 2012 report shows there were 65 deaths in the transport, postal and warehousing industry that year. This was followed by the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry with 53 deaths and the construction industry with 30.

With 15.91 deaths per 100,000 workers, the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry recorded the highest fatality rate. This is eight times the national fatality rate of 1.93. The report also compares figures for the 10 years to 2012, and notes that the 53 fatalities in agriculture, forestry and fishing, while lower than other years, still equated to 12.74 deaths per 100,000 workers – nearly seven times the all industries rate.

In 2012, incidents on farms involving vehicles were the main cause of death. 25 farm managers were killed, which was much less than the 34 killed the previous year. Seventeen farm labourers were killed, which was similar to other years in the series. The report also showed that 48 workers died in the 10 year period in incidents involving animals.

Across all industries, Queensland recorded the highest fatality rate of the most populous states with 2.38 deaths per 100,000 workers – 23 per cent above the national rate (1.93). This was closely followed by New South Wales with 2.30.



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