Call to stop more quad bike deaths

26 April 2013

Safe Work Australia Chief Executive Officer, Mr Rex Hoy has called for quad bike manufacturers to immediately reconsider their position on fitting crush protection devices to quad bikes to help prevent more quad bike deaths or life-changing injuries.

Mr Hoy said quad bikes are the leading cause of deaths on Australian farms with about half of all quad bike fatalities resulting from a roll over.

“With over an estimated 220,000 quad bikes in Australia and more than 150 Australians from the ages of 4 to 94 dying from quad bike incidents since 2001, we need to work together to improve safety for quad bike users.
“There are on average 14 quad bike related deaths on Australian farms every year. If we don’t act immediately more of our sons, daughters, fathers, mothers and friends will be dead from quad bike incidents”, said Mr Hoy.

Mr Hoy has called on the designers and manufacturers of quad bikes to urgently reconsider improving the design of quad bikes so they are not prone to roll over. Crush protection devices should also be fitted to reduce the likelihood of death and injury as a result of a crush or asphyxiation when they do roll.

“We cannot sit by and watch people being killed and seriously injured by these vehicles. Everyone has a responsibility for quad bike safety but it must involve a safer product. We need to ask ourselves how much a life is worth opposed to the cost of a crush protection device”, said Mr Hoy.

Mr Hoy said since the Quad Bike Safety Forum initiated by Minister Shorten in October 2012 a further nine people have died from quad bike incidents.

“Their families and the communities they live in will suffer with these losses forever. The tragedy behind this figure is some of these nine deaths could have been prevented. Action in the last six months could have saved lives.
“I commend the continuing efforts of the Australian Workers’ Union, Australian Council of Trade Unions, National Farmers Federation, the manufacturer Odes and state and territory regulators to make these vehicles safer for users.
“However the time has come to immediately improve the stability of quad bikes and reduce the risks of injury in cases of the typical roll over”, said Mr Hoy.

Quad bike incidents have a significant impact on Australia with the cost of fatal occurrences to be conservatively estimated at around $30 million per year. This does not include huge costs associated with life-changing injuries like spinal, head and major fractures.

Mr Hoy said Safe Work Australia will continue to support all obvious measures promoted for the last 25 years and increase efforts to make users aware of the risks involved in operating quad bikes.

“All employers and workers have a duty to ensure when someone leaves home at the start of each working day they can expect to return home safely”, said Mr Hoy.

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