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Do you have a “Safe Work Method Statement” (SWMS) covering the use of Quad Bikes on your Turf farm?

The following information is passed on to Turf Queensland members for their knowledge, awareness, support information and any future action. Following a recent death of a girl on the Quad Bike in New South Wales and Quad Bikes becoming the leading cause of on-farm accidental deaths, The Federal Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten, has flagged the possibility of mandatory rollover protection devices for Quad Bikes.

Quad bike manufacturers asked to ‘raise the bar’ on safe design

30 May 2012

The ‘stubbornly high’ quad bike death rate in the agricultural sector requires manufacturers to ‘raise the bar’ on safe design by ensuring these vehicles have improved stability and are fitted with appropriate rollover protection, according to Tony Lower, the director of the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety at University of Sydney.

In 2011, Quad Bikes were involved in 23 fatal incidents (18 on farms) and had the dubious distinction of being the leading cause of on-farm non-intentional injury death, exceeding tractor-related fatalities at a ratio of almost 2:1.

There is no doubt that Quad Bikes are highly valued by Turf Farmers and there is approximately 220,000 in operation across Australia. Significantly, these vehicles were designed and marketed for recreational purposes but have gradually increased in popularity for a variety of work tasks in Agriculture.

The Quad Bike – Operation of Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)

Quad bikes or All Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s) can be dangerous and can easily roll over. Each year, more than 12 Australians are killed in ATV incidents, many of these are children. The term “All Terrain Vehicle” can be misleading, as these vehicles do have limitations and CANNOT be operated on all terrain – such as slippery surfaces, steep slopes etc. The manufacturer’s operating manual MUST be read before any person operates an ATV. Persons under 16, or persons with a small frame, should not operate industrial sized ATVs.

The development of a Quad Bike Safe Work Method Statement on your farm is important and some information is included below but not complete.

Quad Bike Work Method Statement

The Quad Bike Work Method Statement can be used as part of your OHS inductions or for tool box talks.

The Safety Procedure should include:

  • PPE
  • Safety Notes
  • Planning
  • Preparation
  • Pre-operational Inspection
  • Operation
  • Clean-up & Maintenance
  • Emergency Procedures
  • References

Planning Example Only:

Ensure ATV is suitable for task:

  • Load capacity
    • Weight of load
    • Location of load
    • Attachment weight
    • Weight of operator
  • Type of towed items required (eg: spray tank)
  • Type of terrain
    • Slippery surface, steep slopes, hilly surface
    • Rocky, muddy, sandy, water present
    • Glare
    • Fencing (can be hard to see, limit space)
  • Level of operator experience

Consider use of other more suitable equipment (such as small tractor or utility) wherever possible.

Inspect intended travel paths. Plan route to eliminate danger areas, such as:

  • Rocky areas / steep slopes
  • River /creek crossings
  • Pavement / roads
  • Overhead branches
  • Long grass that could hide stumps, root systems, animal burrows, fencing etc


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