Farm work related fatalities among adults in Victoria, Australia: the human cost of agriculture

Accid Anal Prev. 1999 Jan-Mar;31(1-2):153-9. doi: 10.1016/s0001-4575(98)00057-8.


The purpose of this study was to review the patterns of, and trends in, farm work related fatalities among adults in one Australian state for the period 1985-1996. Fatality data was provided by the Victorian Workcover Authority Health and Safety Division. Trends were determined using regression techniques assuming a Poisson error structure for annual fatality rates. Results showed an annual average of eight deaths. Males, and those 60 years and over, were over-represented, compared to persons employed. Tractor incidents were the most common type of fatality (72%), with tractor roll overs accounting for 61% of all tractor incidents. Non tractor fatalities included being hit by a falling object and transport incidents. Statistical trend analyses revealed a non significant decrease in the tractor roll over fatality rate, and significant increases in the all farm (P = 0.004) and non tractor fatality rates (P = 0.036). The 3 year moving average rate for non tractor farm fatalities has increased to the point where it exceeds that for tractor roll over fatalities, and is approaching that for all tractor fatalities. Changes within the agricultural industry, coupled with the ageing of the farm workforce, appear to placing Victorian farmers at increased risk of farm work related death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Victoria / epidemiology