NSW farmers will now receive free training and a helmet as part of a major boost to the state’s quad bike safety improvement program.
Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean said farmers who complete an approved training course would also receive a free helmet – worth around $120 – suitable for use while they are riding their quad bikes. The changes represent a further saving to farmers of up to $230.
A partnership between SafeWork NSW and Tocal College at Paterson will see the state’s safety watchdog deliver up to 100 training events in regional and remote areas across NSW.
Free training will also be available through authorised Registered Training Organisations from May 8.
Previously, farmers attending an approved training course (costing up to $510) received a rebate of $310.
Mr Kean said more than 200 farmers had attended Tocal College training days since the $2 million quad bike safety program was launched in 2016.
“There’ve been 113 deaths from quad bike accidents across Australia since 2011, with 32 incidents just in NSW. Each fatality was someone’s loved one, and has a devastating impact on families and communities,” Mr Kean said.
“I am completely committed to reducing the number of deaths and injuries from the use of quad bikes in the workplace, and that’s why I want more farmers to undertake this training so they can be as safe as possible on their properties.
“We know time is money to farmers and it’s not easy for them to give up a day’s work to undergo quad bike training.
“We can’t put more hours in the day but we can make the training free, and encourage farmers to use helmets, as the next step in our ongoing campaign to increase overall farm safety.”
NSW Primary Industries Minister, Niall Blair, said improved rider education was critical to reducing the number of quad bike accidents.
“I encourage all farmers and their employees to take advantage of free quad bike safety training. There have been too many deaths on farms by people of all ages and levels of experience to ignore it,” Mr Blair said.
NSW Farmers’ CEO Matt Brand said any effort to improve quad bike safety was always welcome.
“Sadly we’ve seen five people lose their lives in quad bike accidents in NSW this year alone and far too many people injured,” he said.
“Quad bikes are often an essential piece of equipment on farms but they’re not toys. Users need to show just as much care riding one as they would any on road vehicle.”
NSW Farmers is also calling for a five star safety rating system for quad bikes, similar to ratings given to cars outlining safety features.
In the latest reported quad bike incident, a rider has been taken to hospital following an accident near Warwick in southern Queensland on Sunday afternoon.
The rider suffered suspected spinal injuries and was treated at the scene before being taken to Warwick hospital in a stable condition.
Sources: NSW Farmers and SafetyCulture, www.safetyculture.com.au
For more information, www.safework.nsw.gov.au