Farm safety report released by Safe Work Australia

The Work-related injuries and fatalities on Australian farms report released by Safe Work Australia today has found one in six workers killed in Australia were working on a farm. The report monitored statistics over an eight year period until 30 June 2011. While only 3 percent of workers are employed in the agriculture sector, on average 44 farm workers are killed each year and another 17 400 suffer a work-related injury.
Other key findings from the report include:
• Vehicles accounted for nearly three quarters of work-related fatalities on farms.
o In the eight years of the study 93 workers died while using a tractor. Half of these workers were aged 65 years and over one-third of the deaths involved a rollover.
o Aircraft incidents while undertaking tasks such as mustering or crop dusting claimed the lives of 48 workers.
o Quad bikes were involved in 27 fatalities of which 20 were due to a rollover.
• Almost one-third of work-related fatalities on Australian farms involved workers aged 65 years or over. This is nearly three times the proportion the age group represents of all worker fatalities in Australian workplaces.
• Young farm workers had more hospitalisations for a motorbike or horse-related incident while older workers had more hospitalisations from contact with machinery.
• Only half of Australian agriculture workers are covered by workers' compensation as 46 percent are self-employed. The report showed that nearly one in four workers' compensation claims were due to working with animals, one in five were from working with mobile plant and transport including motorbikes and nearly one in five were from working with non-powered tools and equipment.

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