Risk message hits home

Rotary FNQ Field Days talks farm safety


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Rotary FNQ Field Days health and safety officer Joe Moro with former rugby league great Shane Webcke, who both lost their fathers in workplace accidents.

Rotary FNQ Field Days health and safety officer Joe Moro with former rugby league great Shane Webcke, who both lost their fathers in workplace accidents.

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Former rugby league great Shane Webcke traveled to Mareeba to deliver his brutally honest message about workplace accidents.

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THE shared tragedy of losing their fathers in workplace accidents as young men was used to deliver a powerful farm safety message at the Rotary FNQ Field Days.

Former rugby league great Shane Webcke traveled to Mareeba to deliver his brutally honest message about the families left behind.

He was joined by well known Tablelands farmer Joe Moro, who also lost his father at the age of just 11 in a tractor accident in Far North Queensland.

Mr Webcke was 17 when his father died after a wool press he was using experienced a failure.

He spoke candidly about the lasting impact that has had on he and his family.

"Statistically the most dangerous industry to work in is a rural one, with more people being killed or maimed in farming accidents than anything else," Mr Webcke said.

"It's a human thing, we're risk-takers by nature and are looking to manoeuvre around rules and regulations if it means we do something easier or quicker.

"I lost my dad but I shouldn't have - he paid the ultimate price for his cavalier attitude and the risk he took that night and our family has had to live with the pain as a result ever since."

Mr Webcke said he wasn't pushing for more legislation or regulations around farm safety, but was merely imploring farmers to learn from his father's mistake.

"I'm not telling them to make sure they wear safety glasses or put hard hats on.

"What I'm talking about is the real reason to be safe and that is the people who love and care about you. It ripped our family apart and we'll never be put back together. We'll live with that forever now for one stupid decision my father made."

Mr Moro, who was this year's Rotary FNQ Field Days health and safety officer, said farm safety was a topic close to him.

Mr Moro spoke openly about the impact his father's death had on his family and his mother in particular.

"My dad died after falling off a tractor which then ran over him," Mr Moro said.

"He bled to death in the middle of the paddock by himself.

"The impact my father's death had on our family was huge - I don't believe my mother has ever recovered from the loss of her husband."

Mr Moro said he felt now was the right time to implement farm safety as one of the themes at this year's field days given the number of injuries and deaths that have occurred in rural communities recently.

"For myself, whether on a farm or not, workplace safety is something I'm very passionate about.

"Because the consequences are very serious, and there are plenty of people who know them firsthand as they've been told about something terrible that has happened to one of their loved ones."

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