Australian Farm Safety Facts
On-farm death and injury is a major problem for farming in Australia.
Non-intentional farm injury deaths
There has been a significant reduction of on-farm injury related deaths over the last 20 years. Around 63 persons died from non-intentional injury on Australian farms in 2016. This has fallen from an average of 146 deaths per year from 1989-1992.
These deaths are of workers, bystanders to work and others (including children) and occur in a range of circumstances on farms of different agricultural enterprises.
Road traffic accident deaths of farmers
Deaths of farmers and farm workers on roads is also an important cause of premature loss of life. The search for preventable factors has begun with reporting of behavioural factors such as not wearing seat belts, alcohol intoxication, fatigue and excessive speed being identified as significant contributors to road traffic deaths.
Workers compensation claims
Workers Compensation information indicates that in the five year period between 2008-09 and 2012-13, injuries in the agricultural sector resulted in over 270,000 weeks of work lost and cost $438 million. These figures under-estimate the true level as owner/operators are generally not covered by Workers Compensation requirements. Additionally, this does not include claims for workers in services to agriculture (that includes shearers and other contract workers). Claims rates for Agriculture and Services to Agriculture are amongst the highest of any industry.
Admissions to hospital for farm injury
Examination of hospitals data indicates the importance of motorbikes, quads, vehicles, horses, farm machinery (grain augers and PTO shafts) and animals (horses and cattle) as main causes of farm injury.
Hospital data have been used to profile specific farm injury problems - causes of child farm injury admissions to hospitals, age/ sex characteristics of persons admitted with farm injury associated with specific agents of injury - farm machinery, "animals ridden" (horses), motorbikes and quads.
Go to Australian Centre for Agricultural Health & Safety, Safe Work Australia or the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation web pages for more information.