Farmer fined over accident

A Palmerston farmer has been fined $33,000 after an incident which left a truck driver with a skull fracture and other significant head injuries.

The injuries occurred after a stock-loading ramp used to unload sheep from a truck fell on him when its winch system failed.

WorkSafe says the October 2017 incident is a reminder that all stock-loading ramps should be fitted with an automatic brake winch system to prevent unwinding.

Robert Kirk Ashton received the fine in a decision released by the Dunedin District Court this week.

The decision said Mr Ashton had not ensured the 250kg-300kg stock-loading ramp he owned was without risks to any person.

A WorkSafe investigation found that the ramp handle could dislodge from the winch shaft and no automatic brake system was in place for when the ramp was being lowered.

WorkSafe head of specialist interventions Simon Humphries said the worker had spent almost a month in hospital and was unable to work for nine months following the incident.

"... this worker has lifelong vision and hearing impairments as a result of a farmer's substandard equipment.

"Take the time to check your gear and if you have any concerns, engage a competent engineer to take a look and get things tidied up before your next truck arrives."

WorkSafe has issued a technical bulletin for owners and users of mobile stock-loading ramps available here.

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