Figures released today by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety are a stark reminder of the importance of safety within agriculture. An analysis of media reports in the first six months of 2013 indicates that 28 people have tragically lost their lives in on‐farm incidents and a further 63 have been involved in non‐fatal incidents that were serious enough to make the media.
“These figures are similar to the same time last year” said Centre Director Dr Tony Lower
“However, the figures are only a very small part of the issue, as behind every one of these cases there is an individual, a family and a community that has to manage the unnecessary loss of a loved one or friend.”
Among the deaths, quads are yet again the leading culprit with six on‐farm fatalities in the period (and a further four off‐farm) along with 22 reported quad injuries. “There is no hiding the fact that quads are a major safety issue as they have ranked as the number one cause of deaths for the past two years and this looks likely to continue in 2013” said Lower.
“While quad manufacturers always point to rider error to avoid any implications regarding the safety of their product, with over 60% of deaths in Australia involving rollovers, the lack of a lateral stability standard and crush protection means not only do they roll all too easily, but when they do, the consequences are often fatal. Because of these design flaws, the margin of error for riding quads is so small that it all too often ends in tragedy.”
“We strongly encourage farmers to use other safer vehicles or if continuing to use a quad, then to ensure a crush protection device is fitted, wear a helmet and follow basic riding safety practices.”
Tractors and other on‐farm machinery also feature commonly in the incidents to date in 2013.
“We know that there are highly effective ways to control the risks and prevent needless deaths and injuries. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but we need to take these steps before issues arise. In this way we will not only save lives and serious injuries, as an industry we will be more productive.”
A copy of the report and a wide range of materials that can assist those that work and live on farms to reduce the risks to themselves, farm workers, family members and visitors, is available from the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety web site www.aghealth.org.au on 02 6752 8210 for further information.