Farm Safety Statistics Show Vigilance Is Key | weekly farm
Incidents of farm fatalities fell by 20% in 2021 nationally, compared to 2020, according to the latest figures from the Non-intentional Farm Related Incidents in Australia 2021 report prepared by AgHealth Australia.
In 2021, tractors were on the list of leading causes of death, surpassing quads and side-by-side vehicles.
Of all reported injuries, 60% were caused by quads, tractors or horses.
#PlantASeedforSafety founder Alex Thomas said advances in technology continue to increase safety on the farm, especially with heavy machinery, but it’s important to avoid complacency.
“The more you have on your plate, the less focused you are on the job and the higher the chance of something going wrong,” she said.
“Labour shortages mean that farmers often work harder and longer, which creates additional physical and mental stress. Farm safety is the difference between watching your kids grow up and not.
“It’s that split-second judgment between taking a shortcut and risking it all; or investing time to slow down, talk and pay attention.”
A small oversight during an ordinary pest control operation nearly cost the life of Woodbridge vineyard owner/operator, Will Holmes, Gomersal.
At the beginning of February 2020, just before the vintage, he had a quad accident which could have ended catastrophically, according to medical professionals, if it had not been for his mobile phone in his shirt pocket. suffering the shock of the major impact chest injuries.
“I was chasing and scaring the birds in the vineyard and I just made a misjudgment,” he said.
“There were these tapering rows in the block that I misjudged and I rode straight into the mesh at quite a high speed. I definitely would have done 40-50 kilometres.”
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The accident knocked Mr Holmes unconscious and suffered very nasty lacerations to his head.
“I almost scalped the back of my head on a wire,” he said.
“I had two or three wires running through my body to my face and then one running through my chest.
“So I had neck and back injuries, but I broke three ribs, punctured a lung, had a hernia and also had blood in my urine for a little while. afterwards – because of a small laceration in the kidney.”
Mr Holmes was unable to use his mobile phone to call for help once he regained consciousness because he was crushed when he received the impact of the wire going through his chest.
“It actually broke the phone in half – it folded it up,” he said.
“It made us rethink the way we do things – it was a wake-up call for us.
“We bought a side-by-side to do away with quads – they’re rarely used now. They’re completely kid-friendly.”
A split-second decision also changed the life of harvester Mark Branson, Stockport.
As he started harvesting on his 1,200 hectare farm six years ago – 12 months after the Pinery bushfire ripped through his house – he fell downhill from his head.
Mr Branson said he had worked late the night before and had risen early to make the most of the good weather that day.
“I went down from the engine bay area down the ladder and my foot missed the first step,” he said.
“I fell 3.5 to 4 meters full and then landed on my right leg which fractured my tibia and fibula just above my ankle.
“It was a compound fracture – the bone saw the outside world and pierced my skin – I had to have an 11 hour operation to put in plates and screws to tie everything together and a skin graft to fill the puncture wound hole.”
Mr Branson underwent a total of 10 surgeries and was still in pain five years later. 12 months ago, with advice from interstate surgeons, he made the decision to have his lower leg amputated.
“It was an osseointegration amputation, so I have metal rods going through the big bone – the tibia – down to the knee,” he said.
He said they lost farming income as a result of the crash, although his son Sam did a “fantastic” job taking over most of the operations.
“I wasn’t really ready to make big decisions about cultivation,” he said.
“I have JobAccess looking to change harvester scales to prevent this from happening again.
“This accident completely changed my life.
“My main message would be don’t get too tired – although that wasn’t the whole issue, it was definitely part of the issue.”
The story Farm safety statistics show vigilance is key first appeared in Stock Journal.