Animal hazards in workplace

AN Albury harness racing steward is an induced coma after he was hit by a horse and a Wodonga saleyards worker was trampled by a cow in two separate accidents this week.

The incident at the saleyards has highlighted safety concerns cited as a major reason for moving the yards to Barnawartha North.

On Tuesday night, the racing steward was on the Albury showground track helping a driver to adjust a harness before a trial.

The Border Mail was told the steward stepped backwards and was hit by a horse and gig.

He suffered head and chest injuries and was taken to The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne where he was placed in an induced coma.

A spokeswoman for The Alfred said the man was in a serious but stable condition yesterday.

Harness Racing NSW said it was investigating the incident.

A WorkCover NSW spokesman said it had not been informed of the accident.

The second injured man, also from NSW and believed to be local, is in the Albury Hospital after he was trampled by a cow at the Wodonga saleyards.

The man, who was helping a livestock agent, was outside a cattle pen when he was knocked over by a gate at 8.30am on Wednesday and charged by a 700-kilogram cow.

“The cow continued to attack him by charging at his chest several times and trampling him,” Wodonga ambulance team manager Mike Fuery said.

Mr Fuery said the man suffered abrasions, bruising and possible internal injuries.

He was taken to Albury Hospital where a spokeswoman said he was in a stable condition and he was being kept in hospital for observation.

Northern Victorian Livestock Exchange operations manager James Thompson said the incident was an accident and the man was experienced around cattle.

The saleyards are due to move to a new site at Barnawartha by the end of the year.

Mr Thompson said Wednesday’s incident had nothing to do with the safety issues at the existing Bandiana site.

“She was just a cranky cow,” Mr Thompson said.

“There are occupational health and safety issues here, some will be resolved (with the move) but some you can’t take away because there are always risks with livestock.

“It was just an accident. But the new yards will certainly help with OH & S issues we have here, there’s no doubt about that.”

Mr Thompson said it was the only incident in a 10-day period that saw 25,000 head of cattle go through the yards during a series of annual sales.