Published: 31 March 2016
Author: Michael Burdess
30% of workplace deaths occur on farms – WorkCover
Farmers and farm workers are more likely to die at work than any other Victorian worker. This is the message of WorkSafe's latest public awareness campaign on farm safety, which urges farmers to think about safety before beginning a task on the farm.
According to WorkSafe, 30% of workplace deaths in Victoria occur on farms. If you consider the relatively small percentage of the population that now work on farms, that statistic is even more worrying.
Farms can be dangerous places, with heavy machinery, livestock, vehicles, long hours and remote locations all contributing to the risk of injury or death.
As injury lawyers who have advised hundreds of clients and their families on farm injury entitlements and compensation, we understand the type of questions people have about these situations, as well as some common misconceptions.
Most importantly, people may not always realise that there is coverage for them if they are injured on a farm. Obviously those injured while working as employees on a farm are covered by WorkCover, as well as any private insurance (such as income protection) that they may have. This applies to all workers, permanent, casual, apprentice or otherwise.
WorkCover and TAC cover some types of farm accidents
Less well known though is that other people who are injured or killed may be covered. Some people who have assisted with work on a farm may not consider themselves employees for one reason or another, but they may be covered through the WorkCover scheme. Anyone injured while using or by a quad bike or motorcycle (or other motor vehicle) will likely have some entitlement to claim TAC benefits. This can even cover things like paddock-bombs in certain circumstances.
Finally, insurance – such as home and contents insurance – may cover people injured on a farm when the other situations don’t apply.
In circumstances where a worker dies on a farm, it is likely that their family will be covered by WorkCover for any medical treatment the worker had, funeral expenses, counseling for the survivors and what is known as a dependency claim. A dependency claim assists surviving family members by providing a lump sum payment that goes towards replacing the income that the family was reliant on.