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Trends and Patterns in Unintentional Injury Fatalities in Australian Agriculture

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 23(2): 139-151 . (doi: 10.13031/jash.12091) @2017
Authors:   Tony Lower, Margaret Rolfe, Noeline Monaghan
Keywords:   FARM, Injury, Occupational, Rural, Safety, Work-related injury.

Abstract. Agriculture is recognized internationally as a hazardous industry. This article describes the trends and patterns of unintentional farm fatalities in Australia. Data from the National Coronial Information System were analyzed to assess all unintentional farm fatalities for the 2001-2015 period. A secondary comparison with earlier coronial system data from 1989-1992 was also completed to ascertain historical changes. There was no statistically significant change in the rate of work-related fatalities per 100,000 workers in the 2001-2015 period. However, there was a significant curvilinear reduction in all cases of fatality (work and non-work related) per 10,000 agricultural establishments, which decreased from 2001 to 2009-2011 and then increased to 2015. The longer-term data from 1989-2015 revealed a reduction of 30% in work-related cases per 100,000 workers and a reduction of 35% in all cases (work and non-work) per 10,000 agricultural establishments. For both work-related and all cases, there was a statistically significant reduction from 1989 to 2005 and then no change thereafter. The longer-term reduction in farm fatalities ceased in the mid-2000s, and the rate has remained stable since. Fatal injuries continue to impose a significant burden on Australian farming communities, with the rate remaining relatively static for the past ten years. New evidence-based interventions targeting priority areas are required to reduce the incidence of fatalities in Australia agriculture.

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