Work-related deaths of children and adolescents in Australia, 1982 to 1984

Aust J Public Health. 1995 Feb;19(1):46-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.1995.tb00296.x.


Work-related deaths of children and adolescents up to the age of 19 years were studied as part of a larger investigation into all work-related fatalities in Australia in the three-year period, 1982 to 1984. This study aimed to characterise the circumstances which led to the deaths of these children. Of 1738 work-related fatalities identified over the three years in the larger investigation, 67 (4 per cent) were aged under 15 years, and 117 (7 per cent) were aged 15 to 19 years. The fatalities were characterised by a number of variables, the most important being age, sex, bystander status, location (farm or other) and vehicle involvement (especially tractors). The causes of death differed between subgroups. Although existing controls may be reasonably effective in minimising child deaths in most work places, farms are an exception. On farms, home and work activities overlap, and informal participation in work by the young is quite common. Preventive efforts should give special attention to farms and tractors, to toddlers and male children, and to measures (such as safety devices and other external control measures) which do not rely on behavioural change in the young people at risk. Adults responsible for young children should be educated to anticipate dangerous situations and thus ensure children are protected from injury hazards.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / mortality*
  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control
  • Adolescent
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / mortality*
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / prevention & control
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cause of Death*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors