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Time for sensible action on quad bike safety, say farmers

26 June 2013

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is calling on quad bike manufacturers to commit to a range of measures to ensure greater on-farm quad bike safety, including producing a safer quad bike for agriculture and introducing a safety star rating similar to cars for quad bike stability.

Chair of the NFF Workplace Relations committee Charles Armstrong said the measures also include a call for manufacturers to commit to produce a child disincentive system for quads, and to offer various modifications that can be retrofitted to quad bikes already in use, to make them safer and more stable.

“Quad bikes are a very important piece of farm machinery, but they’re also dangerous. They are the leading cause of death on Australian farms, with 18 people tragically killed in quad bike accidents last year,” Mr Armstrong said.

“We were deeply saddened to hear of the death of another person on farm from a quad bike accident just last week – another young life cut tragically short.

“There are just too many lives lost in preventable farm accidents. The safety of our farmers, our farming families and farm workers is crucially important, which is why the NFF has reiterated its call for greater action and a focus on practical solutions to help address quad bike safety concerns.

“This is not about adding another layer of regulation onto farmers, or making life on the farm harder – it’s about keeping farmers and their families safe.

“These measures by manufacturers would be designed to work hand in hand with on-farm safety procedures, like not overloading, ensuring quad bikes are 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.

“That’s why one of the things we’re calling for is for quad bike manufacturers to consider providing training and helmets as a condition of sale,” Mr Armstrong said.

The NFF’s call comes as research continues into roll over protection (ROPs) and crush protection devices (CPDs).

“The outcome of the research, being conducted by the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities at the UNSW Transport and Road Safety research facilities, is still some time away. This research will develop a safety and stability rating process that gives information to consumers about different models and may influence the Australian design rules and specifications regarding ROPs and CPDs.

“In the meantime, one of the measures we are asking manufacturers to consider is the appropriateness of fitting such devices for agricultural use at the point of manufacture, or encouraging people to buy these devices for fitting at the point of sale,” Mr Armstrong said.

Ends.

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