Experts meet on quad bike safety

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Thirty of the world’s leading experts in quad bike safety assembled in Sydney this week as part of a project to improve quad bike safety.

The $1 million quad bike crash performance research, testing and design project is being undertaken by the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA), the body representing Australasia’s work safety and health regulators.

The NSW-funded research is being conducted at the University of NSW’s Transport and Road Safety research facilities as part of a National Quad Bike Safety Strategy examining design features to improve vehicle safety as well as protective devices and accessories.

This week’s meeting involved members of the project’s reference group receiving an update on the project’s status as well as a tour of the Crashlab where the vehicles will be tested.

Chair of the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA), John Watson, said the meeting was an opportunity to get the input of the world’s leading safety experts on quad bikes.

“Researchers, regulators, manufacturers and the farming community acknowledge that we need to work together to improve quad bike safety,” Mr Watson said.

“With more than 150 Australians dead from quad bike incidents since 2000 and almost nine out of ten rollover deaths occurring on farms, the project involves a series of crash tests to identify engineering and design enhancements which could improve quad bike safety.”

The NSW Transport and Road Safety team has been involved with quad bike safety for more than a decade. As part of the new research, testing will be undertaken using a specially designed tilt-table installed at the NSW Government Crashlab facility to determine the propensity of the quads to roll over and determine severe injury risk.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch today welcomed the research, warning WA employers to remain vigilant when using quad bikes.

“Fortunately, WA hasn’t had a work-related death involving a quad bike since 2010,” Mr McCulloch said.  “But that doesn’t mean we can become complacent.

“Quad bikes should always be operated and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, and an approved motor cycle helmet should be worn at all times.

“I look forward to the results of the current research, but in the meantime take the opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of instruction, supervision, training and the use of protective gear when using quad bikes.”

HWSA has established a trans-Tasman quad bike industry working group comprised of work health and safety regulators from Australia and New Zealand plus manufacturers, unions, automotive associations and farming associations.

This working group will implement a National Quad Bike Safety Strategy aimed at identifying safety improvements for the quad bike and farm industries to reduce fatalities and injuries. A broad strategy has been devised to address the range of issues impacting quad bike safety.

Since the commencement of the strategy, a number of measures have been implemented, including the piloting of a nationally-recognised rider training course for farmers, mandatory wearing of Australia New Zealand standard approved helmets and improved point of sale material to help farmers purchase the best vehicle for their needs.

The industry strategy can be found on the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities website at www.hwsa.org.au.

Media contact:
Caroline De Vaney
9327 8744 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only)
caroline.devaney@commerce.wa.gov.au
Follow @WorkSafeWA on Twitter.

WorkSafe
Media release
21 Dec 2012

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