Safety rating for quads will help save lives

Photo: Taylor Jurd

Photo: Taylor Jurd

Nine people have been killed as a result of quad bike accidents on Australian farms in the first six months of 2017.

Since 2011, 115 people have been killed in quad bike accidents on Australian farms, with 32 fatalities in NSW alone.

To help save lives on Australian farms the NSW Government is calling for the introduction of a national five-star safety rating system for quad bikes.

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said NSW would call on the Federal Government to introduce a safety rating system, and would provide any support necessary to help develop and implement the scheme.

“After meeting with Senator Michaelia Cash last month, we believe a rating system is the next big step to reducing deaths and injuries from quad bike incidents,” Mr Kean said.

“We want to work with manufacturers and farmers to develop a scheme, which would give buyers the information they need, at a glance, to make the safest possible choice.

“This is about putting consumers first and doing what we can to keep farmers safe at work.”

Mr Kean said a safety rating system for quad bikes was a key recommendation of the NSW Deputy Coroner’s 2015 inquest into quad bike deaths.

Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair said the NSW Government is committed to improving rider safety through a multi-faceted approach.

“We have to work together on this issue to ensure we get the best outcome, we want people to be able to work and live on their farms as safely as possible,” Mr Blair said.

“The NSW Government is providing incentives to encourage farmers to improve the safety of their quad bikes, education programs to support safer usage and now we want to give consumers better information to support their decision making.”

A rating system would build on the NSW Government’s $2 million Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program, which provides free training and helmets for those who complete the course, as well as rebates for protective devices, and safer side-by-side vehicles.

For further information on the program visit www.safework.nsw.gov.au or call 13 10 50. To apply for rebates, visit www.nswfarmers.org.au.

With national Farm Safety Week commencing on Monday, agricultural safety representatives say having a dedicated week to farm safety encourages more positive practice changes.

“Farm safety is something we should all be mindful of year-round, but having a dedicated week allows us to educate around some of the major safety issues and encourage some positive practice change,” Safe Ag Systems chief executive officer Katy Landt said.

“Making change on your farm does not need to be time-consuming or difficult, and at Safe Ag Systems, we have developed some tools to help you develop a workplace culture of safety.”

In 2017, National Farm Safety Week will run from July 17-21. During the week, Safe Ag Systems will be publishing educational articles designed to encourage producers to view activities on their farms from a slightly different perspective.

These will be emailed directly to clients but will also feature on a dedicated section of the Safe Ag Systems website, as well as on its Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn channels, which will host a suite of handy hints and fact sheets in coming months.

“The theme of National Farm Safety Week this year is creating a resilient, safe and healthy ag community, and we see this as a way for us as industry to work with businesses and farmers to build that well-being,” Ms Landt said.

“We know farmers are a resilient and resourceful group who are all working hard to make their operations more efficient and safer. We want to publish regular relevant content in an easy-to-digest format to work together with farmers to build safer and healthier communities.

“Every action you take can help provide a safe work environment. It could be as minor as moving a tree branch off the road, or as major as running a training session for your employees. Safety on farms is critical but it does not need to be hard or time consuming.”

Once a primary producer understands their obligations and penalties involved with a breach they tend to be quite proactive, Ms Landt said.

“The difficulty is knowing where to start,” she said.

“I give reassurance to producers that it’s not as hard as they think.

“Work health and safety has been shrouded in lingo and procedures, but once it is simplified and made applicable to farming practices it’s not hard to get a safe system of work up and running.

“Farmers are not alone, we can help."

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