Coroner urges stricter safety rules

Last updated 05:00 01/11/2012

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A coroner has called for stricter safety rules within the ground-spreading industry after the death of a Lumsden man last year.

Otago-Southland coroner David Crerar released his written findings into the death of Glenn Spencer Turner, 40, who died after his truck rolled while spreading fertiliser on a steep paddock near Balfour on October 12.

Mr Crerar found Mr Turner, an experienced spreader operator, was probably not wearing a seatbelt when his truck hit a rock.

The vehicle rolled down a hill. He was flung out of the cab, suffering fatal injuries.

Mr Turner had also ignored advice to drive more safely on the steep terrain from other farm workers.

Referring to the similar death of Ian Ferguson Knox near Lake Mahinerangi in November 2010 and other deaths in New Zealand and Australia, Mr Crerar said the industry had to learn.

"The many deaths to which I have referred, and have been referred to me, are too many," he said. "The circumstances of each death are self-evident and stricter rules must be instituted and enforced to ensure no further deaths in similar circumstances occur in the future."

The Labour Department and the New Zealand Ground Spread Fertiliser Association should work together to "clarify the benefits of operators using seatbelts and investigating methods to ensure that restraints are more 'user-friendly'," he said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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