Background: There is increasing concern in Australia about safety within the thoroughbred racing industry. There has, however, been no reported analysis of injury data from Victoria or others states in Australia.
Aim: To analyse injury and workers compensation data recorded within the thoroughbred racing industry in Victoria.
Method: Workers’ compensation injury claims recorded in the Victorian WorkCover Authority’s (VWA) database and employee injury data recorded by Racing Victoria Limited (RVL) for the period July 2001 to June 2005 were analysed. All licensed jockeys and apprentice jockeys in Victoria are employed by Racing Victoria Limited (RVL) which records injuries reported by its employees.
Results: Employees other than jockeys made 71% of workers compensation claims during the period under analysis. 72% of these claims resulted from an interaction with a horse of which 250 (50%) were riding falls and therefore likely to be during track work. The majority of non-falls related claims made were associated with being kicked (32%) or stuck or hit by a horse (25%).
The majority of the RVL injury records referred to injuries reported by jockeys and apprentice jockeys and were associated with falls from a horse at a race meeting. However, 31% of injuries sustained by jockeys as a consequence of falls occurred during track work.
The majority of workers compensation claims reported by jockeys as a result of falls from a horse were fractures (46%), followed by contusions (18%). The most common location of these injuries was the lower limb (23%) followed by the shoulder (18%). The lower limb was also the most common location of injury (31%) as a result of a non-fall horse-related injury but the face or head was the second most common (20%) in this group. Among claims reported in the VWA workers compensation claims database by non-RVL employees similar patterns were found.
Conclusion: It is recommended that the injury and incident data collection systems within the industry sector are improved such that they are not only more complete but also accumulate more detailed information about the location of an incident or injury event; the activity at the time of the incident or injury event; and factors that may have influenced the occurrence.
KEYWORDS: horse; racing; thoroughbred; injury; prevention;