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Children’s deaths a tragic accident

17 May 2005

Children’s deaths a tragic accident

The Department of Labour will take no legal action in respect to the deaths of a brother and sister killed in a farm accident near Outram earlier this year.

DoL investigated the 5 January 2005 accident, in which Cody, 4, and Hayley Keenan, 19 months, died. Its report into the investigation will be provided to the coroner considering the causes of death.

DoL health and safety manager for Otago, Mark Murray, said no action would be taken against any of the parties involved. At the time of the accident, the children’s father had been grubbing thistles as well as supervising the two children and an older sibling. Mr Murray said the accident was a terrible tragedy, and highlighted the need for people to think carefully about having children around when they’re working.

“Trying to constantly supervise young children while concentrating on work tasks can stretch the abilities of even the most conscientious parent, therefore our advice is to keep children away from workplace activities wherever possible,” he said.

Mr Murray said farmers faced additional challenges in keeping their families safe, because their farms were often both homes and workplaces.

Otago University research shows a third of children who die in workplaces are killed in farm accidents. Vehicles are the most common cause of accidents, accounting for more than half of the 87 work-related fatalities involving children between 1985 and 1998.


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