WorkSafe Victoria is tightening rules around quad bikes. Farmers will be required to fit crush-protection devices to quad bikes, or all-terrain vehicles, or potentially cop fines of tens of thousands of dollars if there is a rollover causing injury or death of an employee using such a vehicle.
Safety lobbyists regard the move as the most significant step yet in dec¬reasing the number of ATV deaths and could encourage other countries to replicate the move.
WorkSafe Victoria executive director of health and safety Marnie Williams said the organisation “shares industry and community concern that the number of fatal and serious injuries involving quad bikes is too high”. “As a result, WorkSafe has reviewed its current strategy and has accepted that a roll-over protection device is an appropriate means of reducing risks when quad bikes are used in workplaces.
“While it will not be compulsory for Victorian employers to fit an operator protective device, WorkSafe has made the decision to declare them an appropriate means of controlling the risk of roll-over.
“This means that if a roll-over was to occur, the employer could face prosecution for failing to reduce the risk to the operator.” Ms Williams said WorkSafe would explain the new rules to farmers and other employers in the next few months. “We believe this strategy will save lives,” she said.
From 2001 to 2015 there have been 42 fatalities in Victoria involving ATVs, with 221 deaths recorded nationally. Of the Victorian deaths, 33 occurred on farms and 21 involved roll-overs. Nationally, 15 people died in ATV accidents last year.
There are about 270,000 ATVs in Australia.
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