Farm vehicles continue to be the leading cause of on-farm deaths, a recent report has revealed, with tractors, quads and motorbikes the most reported.
The Australian Farm Deaths and Injuries Media Monitors Snapshot January 1 – September 30, 2018, reported the 49 fatal on-farm cases is higher than the corresponding period in 2017, with 45 deaths.
There were eight deaths caused by tractors, five by utilities as well as four fatalities from quads and motorbikes.
Other on-farm deaths included three by hay bales, two from cattle, three from fire/flame/smoke and two deaths were caused by a dam.
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AgHealth Australia Farm Safety Project Officer Kerri-Lynn Peachy was not surprised by the findings.
“Given no funding we are not going to reduce these numbers,” she said.
Ms Peachy said this year’s drought, which is affecting most of the country, could be an influencing factor to the rise in on-farm deaths.
“Clearly there has been some incident in relation to the devastating drought conditions we are seeing, which could be an influencing factor,” she said.
“People are having to do a lot more than normal jobs with the added pressure of drought feeding and watering stock, therefore leading to added stress which may cause injury or even worse, death.”
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Ms Peachy said farm machinery and farm vehicles are common equipment that is used on a daily basis and therefore people are at most risk of coming into contact with.
“To avoid coming into contact with farm equipment take a few minutes out at the start of day to discuss safety and prior to starting a job take a look around the equipment to ensure it is safe for operation and is it the safest vehicle for the job task. These simple measures could potentially save a life,” she said.
There were an additional 120 non-fatal on-farm injury events reported in the Australian media for that period nine month period.
Sixteen of the 120 injury events involved children aged under 15 years.
There were 22 quad related injuries and 18 motorbike related incidents.
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These were closely followed by 14 horse related injuries and 13 tractor related injuries.
For quads, there were twenty-six additional injuries that occurred off-farm (i.e. there were a total of 48 quad related non-fatal injuries nationally including farm and non-farm cases reported).
Ms Peachy encourages everyone to put farm safety on their agenda when in the farm environment and put some simple rules in place, like speed limits, no children on quads or in back of vehicles and set no go areas around the farm.
“The importance of farm owners and managers leading by example will lead to the change in safety culture,” she said.
“It is simple, we need to think about safety automatically like we think about crossing the road – look left, look right and look left again before cross the road.
“If we can put safety in our minds to do it all the time, it will just happen, like putting a seltbelt on when you get into a car.”