Farms & Farm Machinery
Quad bikes leading cause of farm deaths
Quad bikes were the leading cause of farm deaths in 2020, while eight children aged under 15 were killed on farms last year
Figures released by AgHealth Australia reveal that there were 58 deaths on Australian farms last year – exactly the same as 2019.
AgHealth’s Non-Intentional Farm Related Incidents in Australia statistics have been kept annually and show there have been 1,548 deaths since 2001, with males accounting for about 88 per cent of these.
The 2020 farm deaths stats also showed:
• fourteen of the 58 deaths were caused by quad bikes, with nine caused by tractors and seven from side-by-side vehicles. Two children aged under 15 died in quad bike accidents
• the highest rate of deaths was in people aged 60–74, accounting for 20 of the 58 deaths. There were eight deaths in each of the 0–14, 45–59 and over 75 age categories, plus seven each from 15–29 and 30–44-year-olds • forty-eight males and 10 females died
• New South Wales had the most deaths with 17, ahead of Queensland (16), Victoria (14), Western Australia (5), Tasmania (3), South Australia (2) and Northern Territory (1).
New federal government laws will require all quad bikes sold in Australia from this October to have rollover protection fitted.
WorkSafe Victoria also recently undertook a six-week regional advertising campaign focused on farm safety.
The campaign’s tagline was ‘it’s never you, until it is’ and WorkSafe’s executive director of health and safety Julie Nielsen says the “confronting” campaign aimed to reduce deaths and injuries.
“The impact of not managing safety risks can be absolutely catastrophic to your family, your workers, the community and to your farm’s future,” she says.
“People from a wide range of farming backgrounds and age groups, including children, are dying or being injured on farms.
“It’s easy to think that a tragic incident will never happen on your farm, but if safety is not your top priority then the chances are high that it will.”
AgHealth’s data is based on farm deaths reported in the media. It says that, historically, between five and 10 per cent are not reported, but are subsequently added after passing through the National Coronial Information System.