Research by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety based on media coverage from 2015 Australian Farm Deaths & Injuries Media Monitors Snapshot, indicates there were 69 on‐farm injury deaths. The main causes continued to be quads, accounting for 15 cases (22%), with two of these involving children. This is the fifth year in a row where quads have been the leading cause of non‐intentional injury deaths on Australian farms.
There were also a number of cases involving tractors (13) and other types of machinery (7). Quads and tractors alone accounted for just on 40% of the cases. Overall, six (9%) of the deaths involved children, with quads again being the main cause.
“These figures represent an increase on last year (54) and sadly we know that each case brings significant impacts for families and communities” said Dr Tony Lower the Centre Director. “It just reemphasises how important it is to have safety as a major priority in your farm business.”
The report also provides detail on 92 non‐fatal incidents that have been highlighted in the media, with quads again featuring as the main cause, being involved in 41 (45%) of all incidents. “These non‐fatal cases are also important as often people will suffer significant injuries that have lifelong consequences.”
In a separate report recently released, Quad Related Deaths and Injuries in Australia 2015, all quad related cases are highlighted regardless of whether they have occurred on‐ or off‐farm. Throughout 2015, there were 22 quad deaths with 13 (59%) involving persons over 50 years of age and three (13%) involving children. There were also a further 70 non‐fatal cases which were serious enough to make the media.
Recommendations to reduce deaths and injury (see chart) start with selecting the safest vehicle for the task that needs to be completed and in the majority of cases, this will not be a quad. However, given the high rate of rollover incidents, if a quad is still to be used, then a suitably tested crush protection device should be fitted. This is an increasingly common approach for many farmers and businesses that use quads and recognize their danger. Keeping children off quads of any size, not carrying passengers or loads / spray tanks and wearing a helmet are also important preventive actions.
“Agriculture has the unenviable record of ranking only second behind road transport as Australia’s most dangerous industry. This rise in cases throughout 2015 sounds a warning bell that there really is a need to fast‐track improvements” stated Lower. “Planning for safety in the same way that you plan for your crops or stock will go a long way to reducing these incidents and the impacts they have not just on
individuals, but also families and whole communities”.
A copy of the report and a wide range of materials that can assist those that work and live on farms to reduce risks to themselves, farm workers, family members and visitors, is available from the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety or call 02 6752 8210 for further information.