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Quad bikes repeat offenders in agricultural workplace

The ubiquitous quad bike is a repeat offender in both the Australian and New Zealand agricultural industries when it comes to health and safety incidents.

  • 115 people have lost their lives on quad bikes in Australia since 2011, and almost half of those have occurred on farms (Safe Work Australia)
  • In New Zealand, 38 fatalities have occurred in quad bike workplace fatalities since 2011 (Worksafe NZ)

Quad bikes are a popular item of farm equipment, due to their adaptability, low running cost and easy operation. They can however be highly hazardous on steep terrain or when driven at speed, due to their light weight and high centre of gravity. The risks can be exacerbated by overloading them or using unsuitable attachments (WHSQ).  As farms are family businesses, children are sadly over-represented in quad bike statistics, with many adults adopting a “she’ll be right” attitude to the risks involved with letting their children ride or drive these vehicles.  Consequently, quad bike incidents are the biggest cause of death for children on farms.

Prosecutions are frequent, including a AUD$125,000 fine in 2016 when a 21 year old inexperienced farm worker sustained fatal head injuries from quad bike fall.

Injuries and fatalities are often the result of quad bike rollover, and simple activities such as job planning, risk assessment and worker training can make a huge difference in this highly hazardous activity.

References / Further Info:

  • https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/injury-prevention-safety/alerts/incident-alerts/2018/workers-arm-partially-amputated-in-quad-bike-collision-with-mechanical-pruner
  • https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/quad-bike-fatality-data
  • https://worksafe.govt.nz/data-and-research/ws-data/quad-bike-statistics/
  • Photo by Kilyan Sockalingum on Unsplash