The death of a 76-year-old farmer last month at Elleker, west of Albany, has prompted a reminder about quad bike safety.
The farmer went out on a quad bike to do some checks on the afternoon of May 24. He had not returned that evening and was later found deceased on the farm.
His quad bike was operated on a steep incline in wet and windy weather, and it appeared it was being ridden down the slope when the farmer lost control and the bike flipped and landed on him.
A tank attached to the quad bike may have contained fluids, and may have contributed to unbalancing the bike.
WorkSafe Western Australia Commissioner Darren Kavanagh today expressed his sadness at the loss of another farmer in an incident involving a quad bike.
“I’d like to offer my condolences to the family of the farmer killed in this unfortunate incident,” Mr Kavanagh said.
“Incidents involving quad bikes happen far too often on WA farms, and in fact all across the country.
“WorkSafe and the Commission for Occupational Safety and Health are working hard to reduce the injury and death toll in all areas of the agriculture industry.
“The Commission has established an Agriculture Working Group which includes agricultural representatives and works to improve safety on WA farms.
“Last month the McGowan Government initiated an urgent Farm Safety Summit to discuss workplace safety issues in the agriculture sector with the major players in the industry.
“Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston and Regional Development Minister Alannah McTiernan met with representatives of the major stakeholder groups in agriculture to discuss how to improve safety on farms.
“In addition, WorkSafe’s website includes useful resources for the agriculture industry in general and quad bikes in particular.”
In April last year near Esperance, a 51-year-old farmer died when he was thrown from a quad bike while riding on a gravel livestock laneway. He was not wearing a helmet.
Just four months before that, a 17-year-old youth died when he came off a quad bike on a farm in the Great Southern region.
Quad bikes can roll if they are used on rough, uneven or sloping ground, if they are ridden at high speed or if they are used to carry heavy loads such as tanks.
They should always be used with appropriate personal protection, including a helmet, long sleeved clothing and sturdy footwear.
Regular maintenance and servicing of all farm vehicles is also important to reduce the risk associated with operating the vehicles.
“Quad bikes are the source of many injuries in both workplaces and non-workplaces, and it’s worth thinking about substituting them for another vehicle,” Mr Kavanagh said.
“I encourage all employers who have quad bikes in their workplaces to consider the suitability of vehicles that offer more stability – for instance the type of side-by-side used as a golf buggy.”