15 Mar 2018

Campaign aims to lower farm death toll

3:55 pm on 15 March 2018

Stubbornly high rates of farm fatalities have prompted a three-year Worksafe campaign to get farmers to use their rural vehicles more safely.

Quad bike, quad bikes

Photo: 123RF

The agency will be sending inspectors to farms and launching publicity campaigns to try to reduce the death toll.

WorkSafe statistics show 128 people have died in farm accidents since 2011.

Ninety percent of those involved vehicles and machinery, 80 percent were vehicle-related and 50 percent involved either quad bikes or tractors.

The campaign aimed to reduce fatalities by 20 percent by 2020.

WorkSafe agriculture head Al McCone said the campaign would ask some basic safety questions.

"Is the vehicle you are using the right vehicle, are you using it within its design limits, have you got too much of a load on it?

"That is pretty basic for most industries but on farms people tend to say, 'I can use this vehicle for anything,' and that ends up getting to the point where the vehicle fails and there is an accident," Mr McCone said.

Another issue was the need to make full use of guards that protect dangerous parts of machinery, such as hay balers, from access by people.