Farm safety

Farm safety warning after deaths and injuries in NSW

Sheep Central, March 15, 2024

SAFETY authorities have issued a warning after a recent spate of farm vehicle related deaths and injuries in New South Wales

SafeWork NSW is appealing to farmers and graziers to wear seatbelts, use helmets and choose the right vehicle when using side-by-side vehicles, quad bikes and motorcycles after recent incidents where adults and children have been seriously injured or killed while using farm vehicles.

In the most recent incident at Coonamble on February 14, SafeWork is investigating an incident where a 37-year-old man and a four-year old suffered serious injuries when ejected from a quad bike. Initial inquiries indicate that neither was wearing a helmet.

SafeWork is currently investigating three fatalities which have occurred since January 1, including:

  • A side-by-side vehicle being driven by an adult with two child passengers were mustering cattle when the ATV rolled into a dam trapping and causing the death of one of the child occupants. Initial inquiries indicate that none of the occupants may have been wearing seatbelts.
  • A 51-year-old man near Narromine died after being ejected from a moving side-by-side vehicle while undertaking farm-related work. Again, initial inquiries suggest that the seatbelt was not being worn.
  • A 32-year-old female contractor was thrown from a motorbike and suffered fatal injuries on a property 120km east of Tibooburra while not wearing a helmet.

SafeWork is reminding people using side-by-side vehicles to use all available safety features, including seatbelts and helmets which will help protect operators and passengers from fatal or serious injuries in case of roll over.

Since 2001, there have been more than 56 deaths in NSW from quad bike incidents.  A further 20 people have died in side-by-side vehicles. Rollovers can occur even at low speeds and on flat terrain, leaving riders trapped, or crushed under the quad bike.

For farmers that continue to use quad bikes, SafeWork advises users to adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions, particularly relating to load limits and keeping loads balanced.

Heavy or unstable loads like chemical tanks for spraying can affect braking, alter the centre of gravity and make the vehicle difficult to control and more prone to rollover.

Head of SafeWork NSW, Trent Curtin said “A quad bike can weigh 400kg and reach speeds of more than 50 kph. They are extremely dangerous and are certainly not a machine a child under the age of 16 should ever operate or be a passenger on.”

“The safety features on your vehicle could save your life. It is an unnecessary tragedy when workers operating vehicles with numerous safety features including roll-over protective structures and seatbelts lose their lives by simply not wearing their seatbelt.

“Where SafeWork Inspectors come across workers operating side by side vehicles not wearing seatbelts or operating quad bikes without wearing helmets or having an operator protective device fitted, they will be taking a zero-tolerance approach and issue notices and fines.”


Source: SafeWork NSW




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