Farms are great places to grow up, as long as you stay safe

WARNING: Farm dams are responsible for many drowning deaths, not just of children, but adults also.
WARNING: Farm dams are responsible for many drowning deaths, not just of children, but adults also.

More than 100 people have drowned in farm dams over the past decade.

Shocking new numbers drawn from coronial reports have been released as part of Farm Safe Week by the Royal Life Saving Society.

Other statistics are just as horrifying - one in five fatalities on farm are children under the age of 15.

Most of them had no active supervision by an adult at the time of the incident.

More than 1 in 10 fatalities on farms in 2020 were aged 15-29 and the most common "agents of fatality" were quad bikes and tractors.

Farmers aged 50 years or older have accounted for half of all Australian farming fatalities over the past decade.

This year's theme for Farm Safety Week is "Farm safety through the ages - from 2 to 92".

Agriculture was again ranked as the second most dangerous industry to work in by rate of fatalities last year, with those over the age of 50 most at risk from farm-related injuries or fatalities.


Farmsafe Australia chair Charles Armstrong said this year's campaign is not about restricting families who live and work on farms - it's about embracing everything a life lived on the farm can offer, while minimising the risk of injury.

"We are focused on making safer farms an intergenerational topic of conversation in every rural community," he said.

"The number of farm related fatalities in this country has not shifted dramatically in a decade, so there has never been a more important time to discuss how we can make Australian farms a safer place to live and work."

Mr Armstrong said by improving the availability of information on hazards, risk factors and practical safety solutions, Farmsafe wants to ensure all communication between agricultural representatives, farmers, government and other stakeholders is active, consistent and productive.

"It has never been more essential to develop a 'safety culture', while alleviating the pressures of farming life, across all generations within rural communities."

Royal Life Saving chief executive Justin Scarr said rural properties carry very specific drowning risks across the lifespan, from children, to employees working on farms and older farmers.

"In our most recent drowning report, 32 per cent of dam drowning deaths were work-related. Exposure to water in irrigation, aqua-culture and working stock can increase drowning risks on farms.

"The other most at-risk group of drowning on farms is small children. Children love the water and it only takes a moment for a tragedy to occur.

"The risk is heightened on farms because of the large size and remote location of properties, and the fact that it is not always feasible to fence off large bodies of water."

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This story Farms are great places to grow up, if you stay safe first appeared on Farm Online.