Ministry investigating tractor death

The death of a 62-year-old man in a tractor crash near Gore on Monday night is being investigated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Invercargill police last night confirmed the dead man was George Lewis Williams, of Gore. Detective Sergeant Greg Baird, of Gore, said emergency services were called to a Mountain Rd farm at Diamond Peak, near Gore, about 7.40pm.

The man was found dead at the scene. It appeared the tractor and trailer were being used in a baling operation on steep farm terrain, he said.

Police carried out a scene examination yesterday, and the incident would be referred to the coroner, Det Sgt Baird said.

A ministry spokeswoman confirmed preliminary inquiries into the accident were under way, but would not release any further details.

Last year, three of the 12 agricultural deaths reported to the ministry involved tractors.

Not included in figures from the ministry was the death of a Winton man while helping with haymaking on a Teviot farm in November. Federated Farmers spokeswoman for health and safety Jeanette Maxwell said tractor fatalities did not happen very often.

''It's harder to tip tractors ... We do tend to see a spike in accidents at this [haymaking] time of year.''

Farm accidents were sometimes because of fatigue, particularly as farmers and agricultural contractors worked long hours to make the most of good weather conditions, she said. Lately, Federated Farmers had been focusing on advocating health and safety practices, particularly through education, she said.


Workplace fatalities
2008: 54 (19 agriculture)
2009: 68 (10)
2010: 77 (19)
2011: 45 (15)
2012: 40 (12)

SOURCE: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment


- helena.dereus@odt.co.nz

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