Case Vignette – November 2018


Farm Accidents

II have harboured a long-held passion for all affairs of an agricultural nature. My interests extend to cattle, sand mining, sandstone quarrying and also viticulture.

When I was a lad, I had a motor bike accident and my ambulatory capacity has always been compromised.

Over the last few years, I have been galloping around the farm on a Segway. I expect all of you have seen a Segway and many of you have probably hired them when you have toured any of the major cities around the world. London, Paris, Rome, New York and San Francisco to name just a few all offer splendid inner central business district tours on these fantastic two-wheel devices.

My Segway is an X2. It has large, heavily treaded tyres and I can negotiate terrain of near impossible difficulty. It travels at approximately 20km/hour if I lean forward and breathe in and has a range of approximately 30km without a recharge of the battery.

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Unfortunately, and like many aged farmers, I came a gutser. I was travelling near top speed along a gravel road when I lost control in a small dust storm. I was pitched forwards and sustained a significant gravel rash on my forehead. More importantly, my chest came in contact with the handlebars on the ground and I sustained a haemopneumothorax. My lasting memory of the event is my black labrador Nero snuggling into my armpit and patiently waiting until help arrived.

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I raise the matter in this forum because agricultural accidents are becoming more common and more serious. Whereas in controlled factory environments or large construction sites in the city, safety regulations and practices are observed closely, that is definitely not the case on the average farm. A casual visit to a farm workshop will display a myriad of unsafe practices, materials and environments.

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Regulation is designed to mitigate risk. I do not personally wish for greater interference in my agricultural activities. I already find the regulators to be a pest. This is one area however where greater regulation would probably help to save lives, reduce the frequency and severity of injuries and help preserve the funding corpus required for the health care of our nation.

I will be a reluctant supporter.