After so much sucess with the bicycle helmet law down under, it looks as if it's starting to spead to others who may benefit from them too! Hopefully, drivers and pedestrians are next!
Hold onto your hat for Outback, Jack! Tie me helmet down
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Canberra, Australia- The sweat-stained felt hats worn by Australian cowboys, as much a part of the Outback as kangaroos and sun-baked soil, may be heading for the history books. They fail modern industrial safety standards.
It all stems from the death of a cowboy, who suffered head injuries after being trampled in a fall from a horse while mustering bulls in July 2001. His sole protection was the tattered hat that was provided to him for shading from the sun.
The New South Wales state government brought charges against the ranch owner, who employed Daniel Croker, 23. The company was convicted and fined $72,000 last month for breaches of safety, including failure to provide the horseman with an equestrian helmet.
Ranch manager Nicholas Ennis told investigators he knew of no ranch in Australia that made cowboys wear helmets, except while mustering on motorbikes.
Since the death at the ranch in Merriwagga, about 300 miles west of Sydney, helmets have become compulsory for working in the saddle there, but ranchers are calling for industrial laws to be changed to reflect the differences between working in the Outback and in a city factory.
Mal Peters, president of the New South Wales Farmers' Association, warned that substituting helmets for broad-brimmed hats would increase the hazards of skin cancer and heat stroke.
He said there is no helmet a farmer can use when the temperature reaches 113 degrees. "For a farmer who's mustering a mob of sheep, moving very slowly behind them without any air circulation, he or his employee may be subject to heat stroke," Peters said.