Farming can be a wonderful lifestyle but carries a higher risk of experiencing a serious injury. Farmers also have a higher incidence of cardiovascular (heart) disease, some cancers, mental illness and suicide. Some of the challenges for farm men and women are that they often live and work at the same place. This means that some of the work place risks are present every day, even when not working.
In NSW from 2000 to 2005, there were 6798 people admitted to hospital as a result of an injury on a farm. These most commonly occur through slips, trips and falls, livestock handling, machinery use and farm vehicles. Older people are at increased risk of injury through falling.
Unfortunately, farms are amongst the most dangerous workplaces in Australia. However, many farm related accidents could be prevented if proper safety procedures and safety equipment are used by all workers at all times. Organisations such as WorkCover and Farmsafe can offer valuable advice on improving health and safety at your farm.
When considering the management of your farm, consider your own preventative health care. Healthy farmer, healthy farm!
Children who live on farms are at greater risk of injury and death than their parents or other farm workers. In fact, the under-15 age group is one of the most vulnerable to work-related farm accidents in Victoria. They account for one in seven farm deaths.
Common hazards include drowning in dams, tanks and creeks, injury from guns or chemicals, accidents with tractors, motorbikes or other machinery, animals and falls from heights. The main risk factors are inexperience with equipment or animals, and trying to perform a task that is beyond their abilities.
Young children in particular need a safe play area of their own where there are no major hazards, so fencing part of the yard close to the house for your child’s use is important. Older children can be taught farm safety, but still need to be supervised at all times. Most importantly, children learn by imitation. If you practise and value farm safety, so will your child.