FRDC invested in the Primary industries health and safety collaborative partnership - there is no final report, however the following three (3) products were developed: - Health and Safety in the Australian Fishing Industry - RIRDC Publication No
Budget expenditure: $150,000.00
Project Status:
Organisation: AgriFutures Australia
Project start/end date: 31 Oct 2012 - 29 Jun 2015


About 150 persons die from non–intentional injury each year on Australian farms. Between 300 and 350 male farmers and farm workers die a traumatic death from all causes each year. The mortality rate in Australian farming is approximately four times that of the all-industries rated (19.5 per 100,000 employees compared to 5.5 per 100,000 employees) (Durey and Lower, 2004).
The rate of workers compensation claims from agriculture, forestry and fishing in 2001-2002 was 27 per thousand employees. There are about 4,500 claims each year made by workers in the agricultural and horticultural industries. Also self employed farmers are not obliged to report injuries so that the incidence reported may be an underestimate.
In the four years 1989-1992 a total of 55 people were fatally injured while involved in work related fishing industries (NOHSC, 1999). Between 1991 and 2001 a total of 16 professional fishermen drowned as a result of falling or being washed from commercial fishing vessels in Victorian waters.
Available statistics indicate that there is a higher rate of suicide among rural populations generally, and farmers in particular. For example, in the period 1988 to 1997, 921 suicides were identified for farm managers and agricultural labourers (Page & Fragar, 2002). The ABS reports that between 1988 and 1998, the suicide rate was up to 17 per 100,000 persons per year in rural areas, compared to 12-13 per 100,000 in the capital cities.
The health status and determinants of health (e.g. death rates, income etc) are generally worse in rural and remote areas than in metropolitan areas. There is a need to identify factors that contribute to this discrepancy, particularly as it is likely to apply to farmers and fishers.
There is a prevailing opinion that many farm and fishing injuries and deaths are preventable.

Lack of awareness of occupational health and safety, and a culture of safety, still fails to be effectively dealt with across all States of Australia. The OHS data identifies that the commercial fishing industry has rates of claims that are average for the overall Agriculture, Fishing and Forestry sector, but that claims for fatal injuries in aquaculture and non fatal in marine (or wild capture) fisheries are both increasing relative to employment. The most ‘at risk’ group in the industry are those between the age of 20 to 24 years, with those aged 45 – 54 years being the next most at risk
group, and will receive injuries from non powered hand tools, to their upper bodies


1. Develop supporting information and data to continue to deliver well-targeted and effective research and extension projects.
2. Change the health and safety culture to enhance farming, fishing and forestry competitiveness and the wellbeing of the families and communities involved.
3. Provide solutions through R&amp
D for key industry health and safety risks.

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