Published: 19 June 2017
Author: Stringer Clark

Quad bike manufacturers case against WorkSafe dismissed as WorkSafe continues to promote Quad Bike Safety

Quad Bike manufacturers including Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki and others had wanted the Supreme Court to rule that WorkSafe’s public announcement about quad bike safety was unlawful. However, the case was dismissed in May 2017 as a result of WorkSafe offering to make some minor amendments to the language in its public statements.

According to a recent WorkSafe News article WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, described the outcome as vindication of WorkSafe’s new approach in relation to quad bike safety.

“WorkSafe was always confident that its public announcements were lawful and appropriate, so having this case dismissed is very pleasing,” Ms Williams said.

Why is the quad bike safety message important? 

According to WorkSafe, quad bikes are the biggest cause of farm deaths and over half of those deaths are due to drivers being crushed or asphyxiated.

This development highlights the danger of quad bikes and and reinforces the need to to save lives and reduce the number of serious injuries occurring on farms involving the use of quad bikes.

Suitably designed and tested rollover protection devices on quad bikes are a means of reducing the risk to operators in the event of a rollover.

What this case means for employers

The dismissal of this case should once again signify to farmers the importance of quad bike safety. It highlights the need to heed the current warnings being made by WorkSafe and take advantage of the education tools available and safety advice being provided by WorkSafe.

Farmers are being given time to come on board with safety measures.

“We want to make sure that everyone understands our strategy and has time to comply before we consider taking enforcement action, such as the issuing of improvement notices,” said Ms Williams.

WorkSafe has advised they will continue to work with the Victorian Farmers Federation in offering a rebate of up to $600 for the purchase of a rollover protection device for a quad bike, or up to $1200 for the purchase of a more appropriate vehicle such as a side by side vehicle or a small utility vehicle.

According to WorkSafe, the rebate scheme has been hugely successful and so far more than 1500 farmers have taken up the offer.

What this means for farm workers

This development will hopefully result in a reduction of injuries on farms in the future. However, those farm workers who are injured when operating any farm machinery including quad bikes should seek legal advice. Under Victorian law any employee injured during the course of their employment has a right to claim weekly payments, medical and like expenses and in the case of permanent injuries there is also lump sum compensation available.

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