Almost 22,000 people were hospitalised in the period from 2010–11 to 2014–15 as a result of an injury which occurred on a farm, according to a recent research report, which found that injuries involving motorcycles and quad bikes on farms accounted for 21 per cent of hospitalisations for people aged 15 and over.
Males accounted for over 90 per cent of hospitalisations involving motorcycles and 80 per cent of hospitalisations involving quad bikes.
Around four-fifths of injuries involving motorcycles were sustained by the rider, while for quad bikes, almost 90 per cent of injuries were sustained by the driver.
Other common mechanisms of injuries on farms leading to hospitalisation for people aged 15 and over involved horses (12 per cent), contact with other animals and plants (15 per cent), contact with machinery (13 per cent) and fall-related injuries (10 per cent).
For males hospitalised as a result of a farm-related injury, almost 51 per cent were working for income and a further 9 per cent were engaged in other types of work at the time the injury was sustained.
The equivalent percentages for females were 33 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.
“These figures may be an underestimate of the true number of people who were working for income due to the significant proportion of cases (33 per cent) for which activity at the time of injury was not specified,” the report said.
“Life on a farm can present a range of hazards for farm workers and their families.
“Hazards include exposure to vehicles such as off-road motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles such as quad bikes, and agricultural vehicles such as tractors and harvesters.
“Even standard vehicles can pose greater risks to their occupants when used on unsealed and poorly maintained roads.”
Those living and working on farms are also at greater risk of contact with large farm animals, such as cattle, as well as falls from or contact with horses, said the report, which also noted that unfenced dams, ponds and rivers present a risk of drowning for children.
“Awareness of mental illness in the community at large is growing, and employers are increasingly confronting myriad complex issues during each stage of the employment relationship, from recruitment right through to dismissal,” said the report.