Forty-four workers from the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector died on the job in 2016, according to new statistics from Safe Work Australia, maintaining the agriculture sector’s dubious title of being the nation’s most dangerous workplace.
Chairman of the Primary Industries Health and Safety Partnership (PIHSP), Patrick Murphy, said it’s a figure the industry needs to address as a matter of priority.
“This makes the fatality rate (per 100,000 workers) of men and women working in the sector the highest of any other industry in Australia,” Mr Murphy said.
“This is a truly alarming statistic, and while October is acknowledged as National Safe Work Month, it’s time for every day to be considered ‘safe work day’.”
The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector also garnered the most serious claims for injuries sustained on the job (per million hours worked).
Patrick Murphy said the direct and indirect costs of work-related illnesses, injuries and deaths are significant.
“The Safe Work Australia report estimates that a total of $61.8 billion was lost in 2012-13,” he said.
“Further to that, overall statistics for 2015-2016 show the average amount of time lost due to injury is 5.2 weeks.
“This is an issue that every level of the farming community – from managers on the land to policy makers – need to start better exploring collaboratively to improve behavior change that can influence a marked reduction in the fatality figure.”
The Primary Industries Health and Safety Partnership (PIHSP) aims to drive sustainable improvements to work health and safety outcomes in agriculture, forestry and fishing through RD&E investment.
The partnership is funded by AgriFutures Australia, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Australian Meat Processor Association, Meat & Livestock Australia and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation.