THE LATEST farm safety data has revealed that incidents of on-farm deaths in Australia have decreased by 20 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020.
The annual report prepared by AgHealth Australia, funded by AgriFutures Australia, ‘Non-intentional Farm Related Incidents in Australia 2021’, reported a total of 46 on-farm deaths in the period 1 January to 31 December 2021, compared to 58 on-farm deaths in the corresponding period for 2020.
Tractors, quad bikes and side-by-sides were the three most frequently reported agents of injury, collectively accounting for 56pc of the total on-farm deaths.
Quad bike deaths are reported to have decreased between 2020 and 2021 (from 14 to 9 incidents), however the number of incidents involving tractors and side-by-sides have remained very similar.
Age is another factor that it is important to track with farm safety statistics, and in 2021 it was reported that 27 fatalities were people aged 45 years and over and six were children aged 14 years and under.
This compares to 36 fatalities in the over 45 age category and eight in the 14 years and underage category in the previous year.
AgriFutures Australia managing director John Harvey said the results reflect the hard work undertaken across the sector, from new regulations, research and development, technological innovations and safety role models.
He said this doesn’t mean it is time for the sector to get complacent.
“While it is encouraging to see the statistics heading in the right direction, we can’t lose sight of the most important picture, which is that the statistics aren’t just numbers, they represent human lives lost and the devasting impact that loss has across our farming communities,” Mr Harvey said.
“The hard truth is that accidents and injuries are often preventable, and work health and safety (WHS) is a challenge common across Australian agriculture.
“We may be making progress but there is still a long way to go until we are reporting zero deaths and zero emotional devastation from non-intentional farm injuries across Australia.
“The onus is on each of us to start our day knowing we have done and will continue to do all we can to ensure that we keep ourselves, our families and our employees safe from harm at work.”
Source: AgriFutures Australia