AgHealth Australia, (previously known as the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety or ACAHS) is based at Dubbo in central-west New South Wales. It is a leading research activity group within the School of Rural Health, University of Sydney investigating non-intentional fatal and non-fatal incidents occurring on farms across Australia.
AgHealth Australia provides on-farm health and safety auditing services. Audits start the process of identifying gaps and assist in working towards meeting health and safety requirements. Our auditors are fully accredited with considerable experience and expertise in conducting farm health and safety audits across a wide range of commodity sectors.
Farm-related injury deaths in Australia (2001–20)
The objective of the study was to describe the agents, pattern and trends of unintentional farm fatalities in Australia (2001–2020), involving work and non-work injury.
Results indicates there were 1584 unintentional farm fatalities (annual mean 79). Two-thirds of cases were work-related (68%). Major agents of injury were farm vehicles (39%) and machinery (26%). Persons aged over 55 years were involved in 58% of all work-related incidents and were significantly more likely to die than younger cohorts when assessed against hours worked. Death rates involving all on-farm fatal incidents (both work and non-work) per 10 000 farms (p = 0.015) and work-related rates per 100 000 workers (p = 0.015) reduced over the period, with both demonstrating a fluctuating rate. There was no change in the work-related rates when assessed against hours worked (p = 0.276).
In conclusion, the annualised number of deaths fell by approximately 24% (98–75), with agents of injury remaining similar. General trends suggest a reduction in the overall death rates for work and non-work incidents. However, trends were less apparent when the reduction of farms (~19%), workers (~7%) and hours worked (no change), were accounted for. Targeted approaches are required to stimulate improvements in these preventable incidents.
- Lower T, Peachey K, Rolfe M. Farm-related injury deaths in Australia (2001-2020)
A descriptive review of quad-related deaths in Australia (2011-20):
A recent study to assess Australian quad-related deaths during the 2011–20 period in relation to introduction of the Consumer Goods (Quad Bikes) Safety Standard 2019 identified 155 cases, with 116 occurring on a farm and 39 in a non-farm context. Deaths were evenly split between work (52%) and non-work activities, however, 66% of all farm incidents involved work. Rollovers were responsible for 59% of cases and occurred largely on farms (86%), whilst working (69%). Head injury (32%) and asphyxiation (29%) were primary causes of death. Helmet use was low (<5%) in the head injury cases, with 80% of the asphyxiation cases incurring no life-threatening injury other than being entrapped by the quad. In conclusion quad-related deaths are prevalent, with minimal variation in the pattern of incidents from previous Australian studies. Rollover incidents continue to be a major problem especially in a farm context. In tandem with existing efforts to enhance behavioural compliance (e.g. helmet use, no child access) and retrofitting Operator Protector Devices, these data support the introduction of the new Standard addressing vehicle stability and fitting Operator Protector Devices to limit potential for asphyxiation.
AgHealth Australia is based at Dubbo in central-west New South Wales. It is a research activity group within the School of Rural Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney.
AgHealth has been leading research in relation to injury and deaths on Australian farms for 30 years. AgHealth works with partners such as Farmsafe Australia to ensure the research conducted is turned into practical programs to assist farmers, their workers, families and the rural community. Translation of the research information has led to the development of programs of work that in conjunction with industry and relevant organisations, has contributed to major reductions in the burden of injury and poor health in rural Australia.