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Life-changing impact of farm injury

SPEAKING OUT: Farmhand Dave Gallagher seriously injured his shoulder when he was trying to detach a hoe from a tractor in July 2015.
SPEAKING OUT: Farmhand Dave Gallagher seriously injured his shoulder when he was trying to detach a hoe from a tractor in July 2015. Patrick Woods

FOR more than 30 years, Dave Gallagher has made a living working with his hands.

He's worked across a range of agricultural industries and has enjoyed plying his trade in the ginger fields of Eumundi in recent years.

However, Mr Gallagher's life was turned upside down two years ago when a normal day's work left him with a debilitating injury.

While trying to detach a hoe from a tractor, Mr Gallagher seriously injured his shoulder.

He said recovery from the injury had proven difficult and it had not only affected his career but his life outside of work.

The Yandina farmhand said menial tasks had been turned into a nightmare and it was "the smaller things you really don't think of” that had the greatest impact.

"I have trouble sleeping at night and I have trouble vacuuming the floor because if you have to move a chair out of the way or something (it's hard),” he said.

"If I take my granddaughter down to the beach I can't have a swim with her and if she falls over and hurts herself I can't pick her up and carry her.

"It's things like that that tear you up inside.”

Despite his injury, Mr Gallagher said he had been fortunate to work for an understanding company that had supported him.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyer's Jed McNamara said unfortunately Mr Gallagher's story wasn't uncommon.

During last week's Farm Safety Week, he said it was vital to make workplace safety a priority.

Mr McNamara said a relaxed approach and poor attention to safety were behind many "easily preventable” injuries.

His advice to employers was "don't take shortcuts” and listen to staff concerns.

"Spend the extra dollars and spend the extra time listening and examining the environment of the workplace and do what needs to be done to fix whatever the issue might be,” he said.

Topics:  farm safety maurice blackburn lawyers workplace injury


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