Quads, side-by-sides nearly 30 per cent of farm deaths

Quads, side-by-sides nearly 30 per cent of farm deaths

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58 people lost their lives in on-farm accidents in 2019, down from 68 cases in 2018.

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Accidents involving quad bikes and side-by-side vehicles accounted for nearly 30 per cent of on-farm deaths in 2019, according to the latest figures collated by AgHeath Australia.

The 2019 report on non-intentional farm-related incidents shows that while total farm deaths actually fell in 2019, some categories saw a concerning rise over the 12 months.

58 people lost their lives in on-farm accidents in 2019, down from 68 cases in 2018.

Deaths involving quad bikes almost doubled from six in 2018 to 11 deaths in 2019, including two children under the age of 15.

Side-by-side vehicles, which have seen a surge in sales in recent years, were identified in one death in 2018. This rose sharply to five deaths in 2019.

Related reading: Quad bike roll-over protection to be compulsory on new models

AgriFutures Australia, who released the report late last month, is funding farm health and safety research as part of its National Rural Issues Program, working alongside the Rural Safety and Health Alliance (RSHA).

This latest report highlights the total on-farm deaths, causes of injury, fatalities by age and gender, as well as the estimated economic impact of fatal injuries and updated bi-annually using data collated by AgHealth Australia.

Read the full report HERE.

AgriFutures Australia's senior manager, business development, Jen Medway said the 2019 statistics also reveal a staggering economic impact, with on-farm fatal injuries costing the sector over $113 million, on average $1.95 million per incident.

"The true impact of serious safety incidences are felt much wider than the economic evaluation would suggest, but fortunately we are starting to see a trend towards an improved safety record for the sector," she said.

"It is an uncomfortable conversation but an important one anyone working in agriculture needs to have if we are to see a sustained reduction in the number of on-farm fatalities and injuries."

Related reading:

New safety strategy targets farm deaths and injuries

RSHA Executive Officer, Andrew Barrett said primary producers needed to address potentially fatal risks.

"Critical risk and control is not new to producers," he said.

"They are managing these all the time; when buying or selling stock, choosing varieties to sow or harvest timing.

"These are all decisions with big impact. Arguing with gravity when working at heights, conductivity when working with electricity or the speed of a rotating power-takeoff is about as effective as arguing with the weather.

"Managing health and safety risks with effective controls is good business, and the only way we are going to curb the sector's concerning safety record."

The RSHA is jointly supported by AgriFutures Australia, Australian Eggs, Australian Pork Limited, Australian Wool Innovation, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Dairy Australia, Fisheries Research and Development Corporate, Grains Research and Development Corporation and Meat & Livestock Australia.

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