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The pilot landed the Robinson R22 helicopter at a cattle yard during mustering operations to talk to the head stockman about some operational matters. The helicopter was on the ground, with the rotors being driven at ground idle, without the pilot at the controls. After the discussion the pilot walked back to the helicopter with a stockman to recommence mustering operations. The pilot assumed that the stockman was following him to the front of the helicopter, but the stockman walked into the tail rotor and sustained injuries to his right arm. The helicopter was not damaged as a result of the tail rotor strike.

The pilot reported that, on this occasion, he did not brief the stockman about the hazardous areas around the helicopter, or the procedures for boarding the helicopter. The stockman reported that he had been briefed on several previous occasions about safety around helicopters. The pilot held a copy of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority's helicopter safety brochure on "Safety Around Mustering Helicopters" and "Passenger Briefing".

The mustering operation was a private operation. The Station Manager reported that there were no formal, documented standard operating procedures for loading and unloading passengers, briefing passengers on the hazardous areas around helicopters, or a pilot familiarisation program to reinforce standard industry ground safety practices. As a result of the occurrence, the Station Manager has elected to develop and introduce standard operating procedures related to passenger briefing and control around helicopters.

As part of the regulatory reform process, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has produced a draft Advisory Circular AC 91-240 (0), which discusses the hazards from ground running of propulsion engines, propellers and rotors. The proposed Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR) 91.245 prescribes safety procedures that must be followed by the pilot of a single-pilot helicopter who has to leave the control seat to conduct an approved fuelling operation, or to check/secure loadings. The 'proposed new CASR Part 91 is expected to be made by December 2003'.

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