Safety Issues with Quad bikes and Side-by-sides
As Quad Bikes and Side by Side (SSV) vehicles have been involved in several incidents in the past years a coronal inquest into deaths occurred between 2012 and 2014. Out of this WHSQ produced a discussion paper taken from the recommendations of the coronal inquest. Businesses use these items of plant to transport workers and items often reducing the manual handling and time on task. There are however risks when these items of plant are not used as per the manufacturer’s specifications or directions.
Management and workers often believe that the Quad Bikes and Side by Side (SSV) is a stable vehicle and safe to use on all terrains. Marketing usually portrays riders sliding, driving through rivers and generally having fun. However, research and incident evidence demonstrate that the quad bikes will tip or roll over when moving at speed, travelling up hills or on uneven ground. In these instances, the rider (or passenger) may be thrown from the items of plant or trapped under it as it rolls. The injuries in these instances range from minor abrasions to fatalities.
Quad bikes are heavy, require a learned skill and difficult to control, young persons are especially at risk of being hurt or killed. Smaller quad bikes for these young persons are not the answer as they have also proven to be dangerous in a rollover situation.
Untrained, poorly skilled and young persons have difficulty in judging speed and distance, and often cannot make decisions in time before an incident occur and may strike obstacles like fences trees or dangerous drops. This often causes injuries or death.
Primary injuries of concern
Quad bike related injuries are often catastrophic head injuries or suffocation not being able to move from under the overturned quad bike. Other injuries from being crushed by the weight of the quad bike include abdominal and chest organs, and spinal or neck injuries.
Injuries commonly seen in quad bike incidents include:
– Head, chest and abdominal injuries from being crushed under the quad bike
– Neck injuries from riding through a fence or under a clothesline
– Deep burn from being pinned against or near hot machinery
– Broken bones, including pelvis and thigh bone fractures.
The private use of quad bikes and SSVs outside of a workplace is not being considered as part of the recommendations of the coronal inquest. However, users must be aware of the definition of a road for some of the Transport legislation requirements. Workers on Farms also need to be aware that this is a business even though the Quad Bike or SSV is ridden by family members not directly engaged in farm work. This is usually the children.
This is part of the upgrade the Model Code of Practice for Plant is to include the various safety aspects for quad bikes. Additional communications will include promotions mail outs and social media platforms.
The following is taken from the discussion paper.
Phase 1 regulatory changes
Quad bikes in workplaces:
• persons operating or being a passenger must wear a helmet compliant with relevant safety standards
• any person operating the bike must be at least 16 years of age, or the minimum age recommended by manufacturers
• a quad bike is not used to carry a passenger. Unless it is designed to carry a passenger. Passengers are at least 16 years of age, or the minimum age recommended by the manufacturer.
SSVs in workplaces:
• persons operating or being a passenger in an SSV must wear a helmet compliant with relevant safety standards
• any person operating an SSV must be at least 16 years of age, or the minimum age recommended by manufacturers
• an SSV is not used to carry a passenger unless the passenger is at least 8 years of age. The passenger’s feet can be placed flat on the floor while seated, and can hold the vehicle’s handrail while seated. If the vehicle has handrails installed.
• any person operating or being a passenger of an SSV wears a seat belt, if seat belts are fitted.
Phase 2 regulatory changes for consideration
For both quad bikes and SSVs, a worker and other relevant persons operating a vehicle must be appropriately trained. This will ensure it is operated safely and competently.
If you are interested in adding your opinions and suggestions the information can be obtained here.
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