Health and Safety in Australian Racing: Evaluation of Safety Vests

Equine Consulting Services

  • Project code: PRJ-008125

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Friday, June 1, 2012

  • Project completion date: Friday, November 1, 2013

  • National Priority: HOR-Thoroughbred diseases and parasites


This study is designed as a detailed investigation of the effectiveness and suitability of currently used safety vests in Australian racing and the evaluation of alternative vests and other factors that may result in a reduction in the risk of injury to jockeys.
An initial epidemiological study using up-to-date data and resources would be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of existing vests in reducing the incidence and severity of injuries.
Secondly, an analysis of jockey race injuries would be conducted using video footage with the aim of identifying the causation of specific injuries and jockey riding techniques.
A review of all available vests would be conducted and current and alternative vests would be tested to current standards under a variety of conditions with the aim of assessing the effectiveness of the vests and assessing the requirements of the current standards in relation to Australian conditions.
Finally, a set of recommendations would be produced identifying protective equipment which may be better suited to Australian conditions. Other factors that may contribute to race falls and injuries (such as specific riding techniques) would also be highlighted.


Thoroughbred Horses

Research Organisation

Equine Consulting Services

Objective Summary

• To evaluate the performance of safety vests as a means of preventing or lessening the severity of injuries amongst jockeys and others in Australian racing;
• To determine whether there is a risk that one or more of the types of currently used safety vests may cause neck or spinal injuries;
• To ascertain whether the current safety standards used to evaluate safety vests adequately replicate the conditions faced by jockeys whilst riding and during falls;
• To evaluate alternative safety vests used in Japan and elsewhere;
• To review and identify jockey riding techniques and other factors which may contribute to race falls and injuries.