Farms are not only workplaces, but in very many cases they are also homes. Homes where children are born and raised. Farms, in comparison to your average suburban residence, contain a range of additional hazards and risks, particularly to young people.
Data published by Farmsafe Australia (Safer Farms 2022 – Agricultural Injury and Fatality Trend Report) reveals for the period 2001 – 2019, a total of 222 children under the age of 15 have died as a result of incidents on farms.
The data is based on research by K. Peachey, T. Lower & M. Rolfe entitled ‘Protecting the future: Fatal incidents on Australian farms involving children (2001-2019)’ for the Australian Journal of Rural Health.
The report concludes that one of the biggest issues in Australian farm safety since 2001, is there has been no significant decrease in the average annual child fatality statistics on farms.
Children under the age of 15 account for around 15% of fatalities on farms – a percentage that has not changed for some time.
Child fatalities have occurred in every state, with Queensland and NSW combined representing 62.2% of all child deaths. Add Victoria and 8 in every 10 child deaths on farms occurs in those three states.
Major agents of injury were farm vehicles (40.5%) and water structures (31.5%). Smaller burdens were associated with farm machinery (12.2%) and animals (7.2%).
Farmsafe Australia has produced several resources to help farmers protect family members, particularly children on farming properties.
For more resources on farm safety, go to https://farmsafe.org.au/
The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) has been involved in a campaign with WorkSafe Victoria, the Transport Accident Commission and KidSafe Victoria. The campaign aims to highlight the risks associated with allowing children to operate farm machinery and/or to drive vehicles such as tractors, incorporating how to keep children safe on farms.
A guide entitled, ‘Child Safety on Farms: a practical guide for farming parents’, was designed to assist farming parents in ensuring the safety of all children, particularly children within the 10-15 year age range.