Report finds NSW has had the highest number of on-farm deaths

The latest Australian Farm Deaths & Injuries Media Monitors Snapshot from  January 1 – June 30, 2017, reveals that quad bikes remain the highest for on-farm deaths with 9 fatalities. Photo: File

The latest Australian Farm Deaths & Injuries Media Monitors Snapshot from January 1 – June 30, 2017, reveals that quad bikes remain the highest for on-farm deaths with 9 fatalities. Photo: File

The state of New South Wales had the highest number of on-farm deaths for the first six months of the year with 17 fatalities a new report has found.

The latest Australian Farm Deaths & Injuries Media Monitors Snapshot from  January 1 – June 30, 2017, which was released on Monday, reveals that quad bikes remain the highest for on-farm deaths with 9 fatalities.

There was one additional quad fatal injury event that occurred off-farm in that period.

A six-year-old girl was killed at Pilliga in northern NSW on March 5, when the quad bike she was riding on with two other girls hit a tree.

On the same day, a 60-year-old man died at Sofala, near Bathurst, when his quad bike rolled and left him with critical injuries.

Another 60-year-old man died in a quad bike crash at Blandford in the Upper Hunter on March 11, with his body found a day later.

Just two weeks later a Clergate farmer died after the quad bike he was riding rolled over. The man, who was aged in his mid-70’s, was discovered by family after he was noticed missing.

The second highest for on-farm deaths in that six month period was tractors and mobile farm plant machinery with four fatalities each.

Trucks and roof/shed/water tank had three on-farm fatalities each. There were two fire/smoke/flame on-farm deaths.

On-farm deaths caused by dams, rope and utility each had one fatality.

In February this year a farming accident claimed the life of Peter Hyland, a well-known merino farmer, from Geurie.

Police from Dubbo were called to the property on Nubingerie Road between Dubbo and Wellington.

They said Mr Hyland, 52, of the Hyland Dohne Stud “Glenore”, was in the process of trying to pull a bogged tractor free using a tow rope and a 4WD vehicle. 

Police say during the operation it is believed that the tow rope broke and struck him on the back of his head. The injuries were fatal. 

There were approximately 20,350 media articles received by the NFIDC from Meltwater during the period and a total of 32 on‐farm deaths were reported nationally.

The total number of on-farm deaths (32) in this period, is higher than the number of deaths in the same period in 2016 with 30.

The Snapshot also found that there were an additional 101 non‐fatal on‐farm injury events reported in the Australian media for the first six months of 2017.

Farm owners/managers need to visibly demonstrate good work health and safety practices which will set a precedence and influence their employees to follow suit - Dr Tony Lower, director of Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety

The overall number of non‐fatal on‐farm cases is more than double the corresponding period in 2016, of 44.

Eleven of the 101 injury on-farm incidents involved children aged under 15 years.

On-farm quad related injuries accounted for 23 of the non-fatal injury total, followed by horse with 18 non-fatal injuries, 10 motorcycle related injuries and 7 tractor related incidents.

There were sixteen additional quad related non-fatal injuries that occurred off‐farm.

In February this year a Dubbo man was left paralysed when he fell over his quad bike handle bars when the vehicle hit a rock hidden in the grass on a family property in Girilambone, 43 kilometres north west of Nyngan.

The figures were released by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety and centre director Dr Tony Lower said prevention was the key in reducing the statistics, and that action is vital now.

“Figures show more than 50 per cent (seventeen) of the fatal incidents occurred on a farm in New South Wales, two of which involved children. New South Wales also recorded the second highest  number of non-fatal incidents,” he said.

“Farm owners/managers need to visibly demonstrate good work health and safety practices which will set a precedence and influence their employees to follow suit.”

Dr Lower said with the introduction of the quad bike rebates currently available in NSW and Victoria, and the strategies advocated, it will undoubtedly reduce the number of quad bike related deaths.  

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