A 54-year-old man has died after falling into a woodchipper on a rural property at Gympie, north of Brisbane.
Police said the accident happened as a group of men were clearing the driveway of a property off Tinana Road at Goomborian about 7:45pm on Sunday.
Acting Inspector Paul Algie said the man was working with two others to chip timber that was on the driveway of a friend’s property.
“It was a private arrangement — they were all friends who were assisting the person who owns the property — they weren’t actually there as contractors,” he said.
He said police had spoken to the two friends the man was working with at the time.
“They’re understandably extremely distressed over what’s occurred,” he said.
“They’re very traumatised as a result of what’s happened and police are assisting them obviously in any way we can in terms of ongoing welfare needs.”
Forensic crash officers from Maryborough, the disaster victim identification unit from Brisbane, and Workplace Health and Safety officers from the Sunshine Coast were at the scene “still trying to ascertain” how it happened.
At this stage, the man’s death is being treated as an accident.
“Everyone’s obviously very distressed and we’re still trying to work out the circumstances as to who has seen what,” Acting Inspector Algie said.
He said police had been in touch with the family and they were being offered support.
Circumstances ‘absolutely shocking’
Acting Inspector Algie said support services were also being offered to the first responders and investigating officers.
“It’s a horrendous thing to have to attend as a police officer — any sudden death — but these circumstances were absolutely shocking,” he said.
Acting Inspector Algie said police could not yet say if the man had been operating the machinery unsafely or incorrectly.
“That’s part of our investigation — that’s still ongoing,” he said.
He urged the community to take care around machinery.
“There’s very clear guidelines in terms of the paperwork that comes with these machines and also I noticed on the trailer there’s a number of warning stickers in relation to how the machine should be used,” he said.
“We just implore that people follow those instructions carefully, because obviously only a small mistake can obviously lead to a very, very horrible set of circumstances leading to someone passing away.”
Police are preparing a report from the coroner.
Workplace Health and safety is also conducting an investigation, assisted by police.