Accidents with tractors, a generational problem
Data on accidents with agricultural machinery were made public at EIMA International. Tractor rollovers are the leading cause of deaths and drivers in the category over the age of sixty are the most exposed to this risk
Rollover is the principal cause of fatal accidents with tractors followed by collision/crushing. Inail, the National Institute of Labor Accident Insurance, with FederUnacoma reported the statistics on accidents with tractors covering the past five years at EIMA International 2014, the world exposition of technologies for agriculture. The institute explained that the statistics include accidents of workers covered by Inail insurance, independent full-time workers, those performing hobbyist activities and self-employed persons engaged mainly in the direct cultivation of agricultural land.
The institute’s data disclose, in fact, that for 70% of the fatal accidents reported in the 2009-2013 period the cause was rollover and that collision/crushing accounted for a decidedly lower cause, at about 10%. Other types of accidents, such as those caused by falls from the tractor or starting it with the driver on the ground, show lower percentages. In the period under study rollover deaths declined from 84% of the fatalities in 2009 to 73% in 2013 with a minimum at 63% in 2011 whereas collision/crushing accidents as the cause rose 6.8% from the beginning of the period to 11.5% last year. Overall, the Inail report painted a picture in which four years of a steady decline in fatal accidents with tractors, from 146 to 113 from 2009 to 2012, were followed by a slight increase in deaths to 121, a figure which was still 17.1% below the number at the start of this period. For the occasion of EIMA International, the Inail data made it possible to lay out a profile of those who were most exposed to these accidents. This analysis disclosed that the major risk factor was the age of the driver.
In the period considered, in fact, young drivers between ages of 18 and 34 fell into the category of drivers least subject to fatal accidents, accounting for just 7% over the five years. At the extreme opposite end of the profile were drivers over 66 whose fatal accidents came to 47% of the total from 2009 to 2013.
Considering the drivers aged from 50 to 65 shows a category for which 26% of these accidents occurred. This means that over these five years more than two out of three of these accidents involved drivers over the age of 50.
Senator Maria Grazia Gatti, a member of the Standing Commission on Agriculture, declared, “As opposed to the on-the-job accidents in the our country’s production of excellence, two environments for enacting major interventions were singled out a long time ago. On one side is certification for the use of agricultural machinery with ongoing training and updating for operators and, on the other, is the revision of the machinery inventory to include identifying shortcomings from the point of view of safety and suitable maintenance of machinery.”
Also commenting on the Inail statistics was FederUnacoma President Massimo Goldoni who affirmed that the revision of machinery and issuing licenses can contribute to the reduction of risks and expressed his hopes that new legislation on these issues would be forthcoming in the near future.