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Agriculture action plan

We are working with South Australian business and industry to improve health and safety outcomes in the agricultural sector. Our industry action plan for 2017-2019 identifies who, how and where people are being injured most and what we will do to contribute to the reduction of workplace injuries.


Work injury claims

South Australian work injury claims

Chart showing the work injury claims by agricultural sector between 2012 and 2016. The majority of injury claims have been from the livestock sector, followed by grape growing and finally fruit orchards.

Average claim costs 2013-2016

Infographic showing the average claim costs between 2013-2016. Costs are $15,000 per person, $8 million per year with a total of $35 million.

Top 3 injuries

Infographic showing the top 3 injury types. 38% joint/ligament and muscular trauma; 23% wounds, amputations and internal organ damage; 15% musculoskeletal.

Who is being hurt

Infographic showing the top four types of workers being injured. They are: livestock workers, vineyard workers, fruit orchard workers and shearers.


Outline image of a person showing the locations of the most common injury types. Injury locations are: 25% lower limbs; 20% trunk; 39% upper limbs; 10% head; 2% psychological.

Most common bodily injuries

  • upper limbs 39%
  • trunk 20%
  • lower limbs 25%
  • head 10%
  • psychological 2%

Injury causes

  • being hit by moving objects and hitting objects
  • body stressing
  • slips, trips and falls of a person
  • vehicle incidents
  • mental stress

Psychological injury

Despite a low percentage of psychological injury claims being lodged, we are aware that mental health and illness is an issue that requires attention.

“Workers’ compensation data only covers persons who are employees, and in Australian agriculture the higher proportion of the workforce are self-employed farmers.”

Caption:  Fragar L, Henderson A, Morton C, Pollock K. The Mental Health of People on Australian Farms – The Facts.p16. ACAHS and RIRDC 2008.

Strategic outcomes

These strategic outcomes have been derived from the national Safe Work Australia Strategic Plan and South Australia’s priority work health and safety focus areas.

Healthy and safe by design

  • Structures, plant and substances are designed to eliminate or minimise hazards and risks before they are introduced into the workplace.
  • Work, work processes and systems of work are designed and managed to eliminate or minimise hazards and risks.


  • Everyone in the workplace is aware of youth developmental stages and is informed to make sound decisions on the tasks and conditions needed to ensure that young workers are able to work safely.


  • Governments use their investment and purchasing power to improve work health and safety.
  • Government departments promote community health and safety and provide education to support it.

Supply chains and networks

  • Supply chain and network participants understand their cumulative impact and actively improve health and safety.
  • Commercial relationships are used to improve health and safety.
  • Industry leaders champion work health and safety.

Leadership and culture

  • Communities and their leaders drive improved work health and safety.
  • Organisational leaders foster a culture of consultation and collaboration which actively improves work health and safety.
  • Health and safety is given priority in work processes and decisions.

Health and safety capabilities

  • Everyone in a workplace has the work health and safety capabilities they require.
  • Those providing work health and safety education, training and advice have the appropriate capabilities.
  • Work health and safety skills development is integrated effectively into relevant education and training programs.

Physical and mental health and wellbeing

  • Industry and individual workplaces increase their capacity to manage health and safety injuries, and health and wellbeing is improved.

Research and evaluation

  • The results of research and evaluation are disseminated and implemented.

Our focus areas

  • mature age workers
  • working alone and in confined spaces
  • child safety on farms
  • hazards related to tractors, utes, quad bikes, motorbikes and forklifts
  • body stressing
  • maintenance and guarding of machinery
  • working at heights, such as silos and trucks
  • livestock handling
  • contractors and seasonal workers
  • mental health

What we will do 2017-2019

  1. Work with industry stakeholders to facilitate workshops for grain and livestock farmers, orchardists and grape growers to improve work health and safety knowledge and awareness of practical solutions.
  2. Engage with the agricultural community through promotion of the Farmers Guidebook to provide practical advice and support to farmers seeking information on their health and safety responsibilities.
  3. Disseminate practical information and advice addressing key focus areas to encourage elimination and minimisation of health and safety risks.
  4. Partner with government agencies and other industry stakeholders to increase understanding of good risk management and control measures in government-funded farm improvement projects.
  5. Physical and Mental Health and Wellbeing Program:
    • Collaborate with other government agencies to design and implement additional health and wellbeing programs covering agriculture stressors, fatigue, effects of drugs and alcohol, and other lifestyle factors.
  6. Safety Leadership and Culture Program:
    • Support young farmer leadership groups to include health and safety as part of farm planning.
    • Promote farm ‘walk and talk’ events as a mechanism to share safety improvements and best practice between industry leaders and other farmers.
    • Support supply chain networks, such as machinery suppliers, livestock transporters, farm planning and management stakeholders, to influence positive health and safety changes.
  7. Young Workers Strategy:
    • Support the Kids Farm Safety Program to deliver education programs directly to farmers, community groups and children through workshops, articles and social media.
    • Work with agriculture groups to increase knowledge of physical and mental capabilities at different developmental stages of young workers.
  8. Provide education and advice on shared duties of labour hire and property owners when hiring seasonal and short-term workers through articles and social media.
  9. Engage with secondary and tertiary education institutions that deliver training to agriculture students to foster the inclusion of health and safety training in curricula.
  10. Conduct a quad bike safety campaign to improve operator awareness of hazards and risks, and offer practical control measures.