West Australian farmer found dead under his quadbike

WorkSafe WA has reported on a quad-bike related death of a 68-year-old man in the evening of 12 December 2010.  Details are scarce as OHS inspectors have only been able to attend the scene this morning.

The WorkSafe media release (soon to be available online) states:

“WorkSafe is investigating the work-related death of a 68-year-old man on a farm at Crooked Brook, near Dardanup south of Bunbury, last night.
The farmer was believed to have left his house to move cows from one paddock to another.  When he did not return, a family member went to look for him and found him under an upturned quad bike.”

Details of the type of terrain, safety features of the quad bike and the type of PPE on site were not available at the time of writing.

WorkSafe WA more often releases statements on prosecutions than on incidents so this release may signify a high level of concern with this type of farming equipment.  Western Australia has recorded around four quad bike deaths since 2008.  WorkSafe WA issued a safety alert about quadbikes way back in 1999.  The recommendations in that alert included:

  • “Manufacturers of all-terrain vehicles strongly recommend that the rider of these vehicles should wear protective safety equipment, particularly a helmet and sturdy work boots. WorkSafe Western Australia endorses this recommendation.
  • Drivers of all-terrain vehicles should identify and familiarise themselves with hazards associated with riding such vehicles, including speed, obstacles, undulations and ruts and regulate their driving habits and the speed of the vehicle to the terrain and conditions they are experiencing. Endeavour to stick to known, defined paths.
  • Drivers of all-terrain vehicles should have adequate training in the safe operation of these vehicles and be of sufficient age to understand the limitations of the vehicle and the hazards they may be exposed to, and consequences of those limitations and hazards. Training must include the characteristics of, and skills required for cornering in these vehicles.
  • Don’t carry passengers on all-terrain vehicles.”

Of all the areas of workplace safety and plant operation, it is the quadbike industry that is the slowest to see the reality that the design of the vehicle is as much to blame for injuries and deaths as is the driver. Any other piece of agricultural plant would have been redesigned by now in response to the level of fatalities.

Kevin Jones

reservoir, victoria, australia

5 thoughts on “West Australian farmer found dead under his quadbike”

  1. Quadbikes (the ones that have handlebars like a motorbike) arenotoriously unstable in steep terrain, and what wouldn\’t be. People need to get over the idea that other types of farm machinery are any safer just because they have rollover protection. Compulsory ROPS won\’t actually change much and may only introduce a false sense of confidence which too many farmers already have. These machines (and tractors and two-seaters) are only tools that have a very narrow scope for safe use. As with any other tool you need to understand what it can and can\’t do, the conditions in which it can be used and, if anything, what needs to be done to make the task safer. Safety boffins will call it risk assessment, we ordinary folk call it common sense. Unfortunately the users and manfacturers don\’t always get it.

  2. A reader has contacted me to point out that what I refer to as a quadbike in my comment is a two-seater which drives very differently from a quadbike. I have also been told that the frame on the KYMCO two-seater is not mentioned as a roll cage but could be a sun canopy or a farm for mounting lights and other equipment. More information is available at the KYMCO website for the UXV-500

  3. Over the last couple of months a leading agricultural newspaper in Australia The Weekly Times has been running a competition where the prize is a quad-bike.

    The competition has featured on its front pages and inside pages for some time and the quad-bike has a roll cage. –
    Perhaps this has resulted from a May 2010 article in the Weekly-Times.

    Curiously, the specifications of the quad-bike in the competition ad mentions the \”front brush guard\” but is silent on the bikes most obvious distinction – the roll cage.

  4. Roll cages on this type of vehicle should be a requirement at time of sale. I would suggest that would go a long way to preventing death and serious injury.

    It is a terrible thing to hear of yet another preventable death. My condolences to the family of this hard working grazier

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