Retailers are reporting a surge in sales as consumers ‘panic buy’ new quad bikes, as four manufacturers have indicated they will be withdrawing from the Australian market next year.
It is believed that Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki will no longer offer quad bikes for sale in Australia from October 2021 after the Government announced that all new quad bikes must be fitted with a roll bar.
Quad bike manufacturers are principally concerned with the implication of the responsibility that would come with integrating new safety features.
“My understanding is that there have been about 15,000 deaths in the United States involving quad bikes. I think there might be some concerns around litigation that might come from an admission that there is an issue in design,” said Nationals MP Mark Coulton.
“It’s not a huge added cost to the machine so I think there’s deeper concerns as to why the manufacturers are behaving the way they are.”
Brad Ryan, the chief executive of Yamaha Motors Australia has previously expressed his position on the future for quad bike manufacturers in Australia, saying that the new safety devices were based on recommendations stemming from “appalling science”.
“[It’s] a legal risk far beyond what we could accept, let alone the risk of failure resulting in harm to our customers,” said Mr Ryan.
Practical Help for Farmers
For those managing a farm or property on which quad bikes are a fixture, understanding the implications of the changes is essential to protecting the safety of employees and contractors.
“All staff need to have specific training on the use of quad bikes, regardless of whether they’ve operated them before or not,” said The Lucas Group’s Senior Consultant Tom Lucas.
“Staff need to be provided with relevant PPE including a helmet, and wearing relevant PPE needs to be enforced by property owners and managers on an ongoing basis,” he said.
Mr Lucas said that businesses should also make sure they have relevant WHS policies in place such as staff and contractor inductions and regular servicing and maintenance of all quad bikes.
“Agribusinesses carry a significant WHS risk compared with other industries, so a regular external WHS audit is an effective way to identify potential hazards and put corrective steps in place to remedy any issues,” he added.
More Resources and Support
Several states and territories have rebate schemes for quad bike owners wanting to retrofit safety devices or upgrade a quad bike to a side-by-side vehicle, as well as dedicated quad bike training programs.
Check your local state or territory’s safe work website for more information or check out QuadWatch.
- South Australia (SafeWork SA)
- Victoria (Work Safe Victoria)
- New South Wales (Safe Work)
- Queensland (WorkCover Queensland)
- Quad Bike Safety (Northern Territory)
- Quad Bikes (Government of Western Australia)
Find out more about having an external workplace health and safety audit conducted for your business. Identify risk and understand what practical steps can be taken to ensure the livelihood of your business and the safety of your staff.
For more information or support, our specialist Consultants are here to help. For an obligation-free discussion, call our office on (08) 8201 9999.