Guarding against slasher injuries

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13 November 2023

Slasher operators cutting long grass are being urged to ensure bystanders are not nearby when their machinery is in operation.

A contractor operating a tractor with a slasher attachment was slashing grass on a vacant block of land in October 2023 when a bystander standing too close was fatally injured.

SafeWork SA inspectors attended the scene and inquiries are continuing into the death.

Tractors with slasher attachments are regularly used by contractors and farmers in spring to cut long grass to minimise fire risk in summer.

Slashers present a significant risk of objects being ejected from the blades at high velocity during operation.

Deflectors, chain curtains, or other suitable guarding must be mounted at the intake and discharge areas of the slasher to deflect projectiles towards the ground and minimise the potential of someone being struck by material while the slasher is in operation.

Power Take Off shafts must also be guarded.

Operators must also ensure they are not operating slasher attachments near people and abide by any manufacturer’s specifications regarding an exclusion zone and guarding.