Farmers in NSW have committed to improving safety on their properties with a huge $13.2 million investment in quad bike safety since July 2016.
The investments have been made through the NSW government’s Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program, which has itself contributed $1 million through more than 1500 rebates.
The NSW Farmers Association runs the rebate scheme on behalf of the government, and safety spokesperson Matthew Waring said it has enabled farmers to access safety solutions – from vehicle upgrades to training and rollover protection – that lessened the chance of death and serious injury on their properties.
“Anything that can create a culture change to safer workplaces is a success,” Mr Waring said.
“The rebate is only part of the solution with the NSW Farmers Association, along with Safework NSW, the CWA (Country Women’s Association) and others meeting regularly as part of the Quad Bike Safety Industry Action Group to develop strategies and seek reform to reduce the amount of deaths on quad bikes to zero by 2022.
“NSWFA are currently pushing for a 5 star safety rating system for quad bikes on a national scale through the Group and through its own policy team to ensure farmers are informed in relation to what they are buying and whether the quads they are buying are fit for their purpose.”
A total of 117 Australians have died as a result of quad bike incidents since 2011, while in NSW there have five fatalities in 2017 – all in September.
Mr Waring said SafeWork was now investigating all incidents in an attempt to collate and better understand the real world data on accidents.
He said “if you use a quad, you need to be safe”.
“Now is the best time to upgrade or increase the safety on your quad,” Mr Waring said.
“If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for your family as the consequences of an accident can be devastating.
“If you have employees or contractors, you have a duty to keep them safe and the rebate scheme and information available on quad bikes makes it easier than ever to meet your obligations under legislation.”
Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean welcomed the positive response to the program, which included more than 700 claims for side-by-side vehicles.
But he said there was still work to do.
“While this is encouraging, more still needs to be done to bring down the tragic toll of quad bike accidents across NSW,” Mr Kean said.
“That’s why we are putting consumers first and working with other jurisdictions, and the Commonwealth, to introduce a national five-star safety rating system for quad bikes.
“We are also offering an additional 75 free group training courses to NSW farmers, so they can be as safe as possible at work on their properties.”
Under the program, farmers can apply for rebates of up to $2,000 towards safer side-by-side vehicles, and new safety equipment for existing quad bikes.
They can also attend free quad bike training, after which they will also receive a free helmet.
For further information on the program, visit www.safework.nsw.gov.au or call 13 10 50. Visit www.nswfarmers.org.au to apply for rebates.