Farm-related injury deaths in Australia (2001–20)

Publication Name

Australian Journal of Rural Health


Objective: To describe the agents, pattern and trends of unintentional farm fatalities in Australia (2001–2020). Methods: Review of study of National Coronial Information System data. Design: Descriptive. Setting: Australia (2001–2020). Participants: All cases involving fatal work and non-work injury events on a farm. Main outcome measures: Patterns and agents of injury events, with trends for all-cause deaths based on rates per 10 000 farms and work-related incidents (per 100 000 workers and 1 000 000 h worked). Results: 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). Conclusion: Over the period, 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.

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