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Greater action needed to prevent on-farm quad accidents

18 July 2012

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is calling for greater action on four wheel motorbike safety during this year’s National Farm Safety Week, to address the ever-increasing number of fatalities from quad bike accidents on Australian farms.

NFF President Jock Laurie said the time had come for real action on quad bike safety, with the NFF calling for a focus on solutions like roll-over protection or crush protection devices.

“Quad bikes are an important piece of farm machinery, but they can be dangerous. They are the leading cause of on-farm vehicle-related deaths in Australia, and the main cause of fatal injuries in children aged 5-14 on farms,” Mr Laurie said.

“Sadly, too many lives are lost in preventable farm accidents - just last week we saw another young life tragically cut short due to an on-farm quad bike accident, bringing the total number of people killed by quad bikes to 10 this year alone.

“The safety of our farming families and farm workers is of upmost concern, which is why the NFF and our members are now calling for a focus on practical solutions to help address quad safety concerns,” Mr Laurie said.

“In the past, we had hoped the number of quad bike accidents could be greatly reduced by farmers adhering to some simple rules, like not overloading quads, ensuring they’re used for the intended purposes only, and not allowing children under 16 to operate them – combined with relevant training, safe work practices and wearing suitable protective clothing, including helmets.

“While these are all very important measures for farmers to take on board, the continued number of quad bike accidents and fatalities show that greater action is needed.

“The Government has recognised this need; just last week it convened a meeting of government, industry, unions, community groups and farming organisations, including the NFF, to improve quad bike safety. Minister Shorten announced on Friday a new initiative, QuadWatch, to help provide information and strengthen community networks around quad bike safety issues.

“The NFF supports this initiative, but we also believe more needs to be done to ensure the safety of our farming families and farm workers, which is why we’re calling for a focus on solutions like roll-over protection or crush protection devices.

“Research is in the pipeline on crush protection devices – and if this research shows that they decrease fatalities and injuries, then we will very strongly support them,” Mr Laurie said.

National Farm Safety Week, an initiative of FarmSafe Australia and its members, including the NFF, runs until this Friday 20 July. National Farm Safety Week aims to raise awareness of farm safety issues and help reduce the risk of injury and illness. For more information, visit the FarmSafe website.

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