Flying doctor reports on rural accidents
GroundCover™ Issue: 122
Research by the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) has investigated the impact that injury has on rural communities and the agricultural sector in Australia. The research has led the RFDS to call for a new national injury strategy to be developed and for more government support.
It is being backed by Farmsafe Australia, with chair Charles Armstrong saying the cascading impacts of injury in rural and remote Australia for individuals, families, communities, health services and taxpayers are all too obvious.
“Because of this, Farmsafe strongly endorses the RFDS call for increased action by governments and a new national injury-prevention strategy to address injury and its disproportionate impact in rural and remote Australia,” he says.
“With agricultural workers being nine times more likely to die in a workplace incident than workers in other industries, we simply cannot sit by and accept this situation.
“As an industry we have been improving our safety record, with reductions in the number of farm injury deaths approaching 60 per cent over the past two decades. However, as this RFDS report indicates, we still need to do more.”
The report also highlights Farmsafe’s ongoing concern in relation to the safety of children, with one in three hospitalisations as a result of injury.
Farmsafe Australia, which coordinates the annual National Farm Safety Week, has long been a campaigner for growers to be proactive in implementing measures that make the farm workplace safer and the farm environment safer generally, especially for children.
“We know that having a safe and secure play area at the homestead reduces young children’s access to high-risk areas such as dams and waterways. Similarly, keeping children of all ages off quad bikes, either as riders or passengers, will improve our safety record,” Mr Armstrong says.