Drought, Floods and a Broken Leg: The Dangers of Farming in Australia

18 Dec 2013

By Patrick Fagan

There's no doubt farming in Australia has a long and rich history and has made a significant economic and cultural contribution to our way of life.

If you think about the risks which face the agricultural industry the first thoughts that usually come to mind are around the impacts of droughts and floods. It is interesting to consider however, that farms are in fact Australia's most dangerous workplaces, accounting for around one quarter of all work-related deaths. While Australian farming makes up only around four percent of the work force, it accounts for approximately 20 percent of all work-related injury.

The consequences arising from work related farming injuries are varied. The individual's pain and suffering is often overshadowed by medical costs which are compounded by loss of income through uncompleted work or increased cost of replacement labour.

As the farming community is most likely to experience work-related accidents and deaths, many residents of regional Australia face an increased risk of financial hardship if they are unable to work, either temporarily or permanently. For some, this could even mean losing a farm that has been in the family for generations.

Reducing the risks

The good news is there are measures which can be put in place to reduce the risk of injury or death such as properly training staff, regular machinery maintenance, installation of appropriate guards and barriers and the careful storage and handling of hazardous chemicals.

For some, there are also ways to mitigate the potentially disastrous financial impact should, a valuable co-worker or family member suffer an illness, serious injury, or worse. Options can include:

  • Life Cover - which provides a lump sum to your dependants if you're not there to provide for them.
  • Trauma Cover - this pays a lump sum on diagnosis of serious medical conditions such as cancer or heart attack and often provides funds just when they are needed the most.
  • Income Protection – which can provide a benefit if you are not able to work due to illness or injury.
  • Total and Permanent Disability Insurance (TPD) - may also be an important part of a farmers insurance solution, as it provides a lump sum if the insured person becomes permanently disabled.

Although insurance is subject to underwriting, all too often I see people who have inadequate or no insurance cover to enable their loved ones to maintain financial security without having to sell the family's assets such as a farm or business.

If you're one of the many people who consider personal risk insurance to be too expensive, it's worth weighing up that you can financially protect yourself and your family from as little as the price of a cup of coffee a day. Compare this to the impact of not having insurance which could cost you everything – like your farm, home or business – and, in the end, the numbers really do speak for themselves.

To learn more about Patrick, view his online profile.

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