Farm deaths jump in 2015

QUAD bikes were responsible for more than a fifth of all on-farm deaths in Australia in 2015, with figures showing a 28% leap in fatalities overall.

And fatalities by quad bike have been the leading cause of non-intentional injury deaths on Australia farms for the past five years.

Of the 69 deaths in 2015, 15 involved a quad bike, with two involving children, and 13 cases involved tractors, and seven others involved other farm machinery.

There were 54 on-farm deaths in 2014.

The research was compiled by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety Centre.

Director Tony Lower said the figures represented "significant impacts for families and communities".

"It just re-emphasises how important it is to have safety as a major priority in your farm business," Dr Lower said. "Our report also provides detail on 92 non-fatal accidents highlighted in the media, with quads again featuring as the main cause, being involved in 41 (45%) of all incidents," he said.

"These non-fatal cases are also important as often people will suffer injuries that have life-long consequences."

A separate study on quad-related cases involving on and off-farm incidents showed in 2015 there were 22 quad deaths, with 13 involving people over 50, and three involving children.

Dr Lower said wherever possible, it was best not to use a quad, or if necessary, a suitably-tested crush protection device should be fitted. He said children should be kept well away from them.

"Agriculture has the unenviable record of ranking only second behind road transport as Australia's most dangerous industry," he said.

"This rise in cases throughout 2015 sounds a warning bell that there really is a need to fast-track improvements.

"Planning for safety in the same way that you plan for your crops or stock will go a long way to reducing these incidents and the impacts they have."

Topics:  farm fatalities quad bikes

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