There are calls for more to be done to boost farm safety after a report found work-BOOKr.VIP death rates have not improved for more than a decade in New South Wales.
A research paper released today by the Public Health Research and Practice found farm fatalities rates had not improved between 2001 and 2015.
About 370 people died on farms during that period with more than half being work-BOOKr.VIP.
The report found there were about 17 deaths per 100,000 people, making the sector 12 times higher than the state’s all-industry average.
The majority of deaths occurred in the north and central western areas.
More independent information needed
The two leading causes of death were tractors and quad bikes, with men accounting for almost 90 per cent of all fatalities.
Tony Lower, one of the report authors, said a revealing trend found was that men over the age of 50 accounted for the majority of deaths caused by tractors and quad bikes.
“We need to find ways to actually ensure that they can continue to work within the industry safely.”
Mr Lower commended the efforts of SafeWork NSW, but said farmers were naturally sceptical of the organisation.
He said it was both the educator and the enforcer, and that farmers needed advice and updates without the fear of prosecution.
He said more independent information was needed.
“We want to try and ensure that people do take forward the message that they can do something about this and that they can manage safety in the same way that they manage their crops and stock,” Mr Lower said.
Truck driver lucky not be a statistic
A truck driver who had his leg amputated as the result of an accident stressed the important of being vigilant in all aspects of farming.
Howard Courts, who now lives near Wellington, was electrocuted while unloading sheep in 2008, after his head hit an overhead wire.
He was knocked unconscious from the shock.
He said his injury had made him far more alert to the dangers on farms.
“You don’t think it is going to happen to you.
“I think you can’t be too aware of anything, not only powerlines but, everything in respect to tractors or large machinery or even back to the four-wheelers and everything on a farm these days.”
Mr Lower said he hoped the findings would leverage a push to ramp up investment in evidence-based approaches to farm safety.
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