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Shearing shed worker killed by woolpress in WA Wheatbelt

A shearing shed worker has died after becoming caught in a wool press while working in the Wheatbelt on Thursday morning, taking the total number of agriculture industry deaths to six during the past 10 months.

The man was reportedly placing wool into a wool press when he was caught in the machinery and killed in a shearing shed at Katrine, a little-known locality between Northam and Toodyay, at about 9.30am.

A wool press is used to compress shorn fleeces into a bale in order to be transported to a factory for processing.

WorkSafe investigators travelled to the property and are investigating the death “with a view to ensuring compliance” and prevent future incidents of “a similar nature”.

WorkSafe WA commissioner Darren Kavanagh said any work-related death was a tragedy, and relayed his sincere condolences to the man’s family.

“The agriculture industry has unfortunately experienced six deaths over the past ten months, and this needs to improve,” Mr Kavanagh said.

“Agriculture frequently appears as one of the top three industries for workplace deaths, and there’s an increasing need to give greater priority to safety and health.”

WA Shearing Industry Association president Darren Spencer said fatal accidents were rare in shearing sheds and the man’s death could be felt throughout the tightknit shearing community.

“We don’t often hear of accidents in shearing sheds… everyone needs to be aware of their surroundings and safety aspects when working in sheds,” he said.

“It is not a big industry and this will really be felt.”

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