A report released by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety indicates that in 2016 there were 63 on-farm injury deaths. While this figure is less than 2015, the number of farm safety fatalities is still more than double the combined total of deaths in the mining and construction sector.
What’s causing fatalities on Farms?
The main causes were tractors (9) other farm machinery (9) and quad bikes (6). These three factors accounted for almost 40% of all cases. Of the non-fatal incidents, quads dominated the cases – featuring in 50% of all incidents.
The report’s author, Dr Tony Lower said: “Planning for safety in the same way that you plan for crops or stock will go a long way to reducing these incidents and the impacts they have not just on individuals, but also families and whole communities.”
Lessons learned by other industries
While the work carried out on farms is completely different to the highly regulated building and construction industry, lessons can be learnt by looking at the preventative safety procedures that have now become common practice. National safety guidelines and workplace legislation have paid particular attention to high risk issues such as working at height, operating machinery and receiving adequate and regular safety training.
Safety by Design
When it comes to the issue of decreasing the risks involved in working with large-scale agricultural machinery, Drake Trailers have looked at how they can remove potential operating risks in the design process of their specialist agricultural trailer, the AG Widener.
Designed specifically for transporting over-size, extra wide farm equipment such as irrigation equipment, harvesters and seeders, Drake Trailers’ AG Widener trailer uses hydraulic suspension to provide the ultimate level of stability in a trailer that widens from 2.5m to 4.5m.
Constructed using high tensile, superior strength steel for the frame, beams and cross members, the AG Widener uses exclusively Australian, Swedish and Japanese steel.
The AG Widener comes with the option of self-tracking rear axles for maximum manoeuvrability and fully remote control functions, allowing the operator to perform loading and unloading functions from the safest vantage point, also minimising manual handling.
The culture of continuous improvement
The farming sector is already working hard to create an industry-wide culture of continuous improvement and it will happen with suppliers, equipment manufacturers and industry leaders committed to providing the safety products and support possible.
At Drake Trailers, safety is our number one priority when we design and build our industry-leading heavy haulage transport and farm trailers. For more information about any trailer in the Drake Trailers trailer range, contact us today.
Copies of the farm injury fatalities report are available from Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety.
On-farm deaths reported in Australian print media by age and state (Jan 1-Dec 31, 2016).
On-farm non-fatal injury events reported in Australian print media (Jan 1-Dec 31, 2016).