Safety alert 01/2010 - Hay bales crush retired farmer

This publication is for: 
Employee / workerEmployer

A retired farmer was fatally injured when he was struck and crushed by hay bales falling from a truck being unloaded by a telescopic handler (telehandler). The retired farmer drove the truck into a hay shed and had left the cabin, while the telehandler was operating on the opposite side of the vehicle. Two hay bales were dislodged during the unloading operation and fell onto the retired farmer. 

Contributing factors

  • The truck was being unloaded with a pedestrian in the vicinity.
  • The telehandler operator did not have a clear view of the pedestrian.
  • The weight of the hay bales was sufficient to cause fatal injuries.


  • Conduct a risk assessment for mobile plant operations.
  • Exclude pedestrians from areas where trucks are being loaded or unloaded by mobile plant.
  • Provide adequate information, instruction, training and supervision of persons involved in unloading trucks.

Further information

•    Guidance note: Powered mobile plant.
•    Guidance note: Safe movement of vehicles at workplaces.
•    Agricultural workbook.

Further information can be obtained from WorkSafe’s website or by contacting customer service on 1300 307 877 or email

This Alert contains safety information following inquiries made by WorkSafe about an incident or unsafe practice. The information contained in this Alert does not necessarily include the outcome of WorkSafe’s action with respect to an incident. WorkSafe does not warrant the information in this Alert is complete or up to date and does not accept any liability to any person for the information in this report or as to its use.

Last updated 29 Jun 2017

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