More action needed on farm
quad-bike safety, NFF urges
THE National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is calling for greater action on four-wheel motorbike safety during this year’s National Farm Safety Week which ends this Friday, July 20.
The ever-increasing number of fatalities from quad bike accidents on Australian farms needs to be addressed, it says.
NFF president Jock Laurie says the time had come for real action on quad bike safety, with the NFF calling for a focus on solutions like roll-over protection or crush protection devices.
“Quad bikes are an important piece of farm machinery, but they can be dangerous,” says Mr Laurie.
“They are the leading cause of on-farm vehicle-related deaths in Australia, and the main cause of fatal injuries in children aged five to 14 years.
“Sadly, too many lives are lost in preventable farm accidents – just last week we saw another young life tragically cut short due to an on-farm quad bike accident, bringing the total number of people killed by quad bikes to 10 this year alone.
“The safety of our farming families and farm workers is of upmost concern, which is why the NFF and our members are now calling for a focus on practical solutions to help address quad safety concerns,” Mr Laurie says.
“In the past, we had hoped the number of quad bike accidents could be greatly reduced by farmers adhering to some simple rules, like not overloading quads, ensuring they’re used for the intended purposes only, and not allowing children under 16 to operate them – combined with relevant training, safe work practices and wearing suitable protective clothing, including helmets.
“While these are all very important measures for farmers to take on board, the continued number of quad bike accidents and fatalities show that greater action is needed.
“The government has recognised this need; just last week it convened a meeting of government, industry, unions, community groups and farming organisations, including the NFF, to improve quad bike safety.
“(Employment and Workplace Relations) Minister (Bill) Shorten announced on Friday a new initiative, QuadWatch, to help provide information and strengthen community networks around quad bike safety issues.
“The NFF supports this initiative, but we also believe more needs to be done to ensure the safety of our farming families and farm workers, which is why we’re calling for a focus on solutions like roll-over protection or crush protection devices.
“Research is in the pipeline on crush protection devices – and if this research shows that they decrease fatalities and injuries, then we will very strongly support them,” Mr Laurie says.
National Farm Safety Week aims to raise awareness of farm safety issues and help reduce the risk of injury and illness.
Further information at the FarmSafe website.