“Just carrying on doing more reviews is not going to take us very far. We now have to make a start and that’s going to require legislation,”
These words were spoken by the head of the UK Competition and Markets Authority, Andrew Tyrie, but could easily have been a quote from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in relation to its recent review of the safety of quad bikes.
Improving the safety of quad bikes, or what used to be called All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) until everyone accepted that they don’t travel safely over all terrains, has been a contentious issue in Australia for well over a decade. The issue appears in the media regularly after each death or near miss involving a quad bike rider.
Last week the issue appeared in the media for a different reason. Yamaha and Honda have both advised their dealers that if the ACCC safety recommendations and safety standard become law, they will
“….. be force[d] to cease selling utility ATVs in Australia” (Yamaha)
“… withdraw from the ATV market in Australia.” (Honda)
On April 6 2018 Australia’s Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert released the report into Quad Bike safety prepared by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC). The report makes unsurprising safety recommendations, many of these have been coming for years. The surprise is the Minister’s decision to begin another round of consultation:
“The Government is inviting stakeholders to review and comment on the ACCC’s recommended safety standard.”
The previous paragraph in the Minister’s press statement acknowledged:
“Extensive consultation has been undertaken including with technical experts, farmers, the recreational and tourism sector, consumer groups, health and medical experts, industry and government bodies. The majority of stakeholders support a new mandatory safety standard. The ACCC’s report highlights how these safety measures including installing an operator protection device can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of injuries, particularly from rollover incidents”
An indication of the level of “extensive consultation” can be seen through the process the ACCC has been running since at least November 2017. The only possible reason for this extraordinary decision is the political desire to release the ACCC report prior to the Federal Election, only just announced as occurring on May 18, 2019.
Below is the list of occupational health and safety (OHS) issues for the next three years, put to the Australian Council of Trade Unions and passed, at its Congress on 18 July 2018. Some were expected but others will cause concern, primarily, for business owners. Perhaps the major concern is that these commitments are to be rolled out nationally.
On June 5 2018, Sharon O’Keeffe of the North Queensland Register newspaper aired the response of the Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Mick Keogh to claims from the Federated Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) on the safety of quad bikes and crush protection devices (CPDs). O’Keeffe says “the gloves are off”.
In March 2018, the ACCC announced its intention for a mandatory safety standard for quad bikes, or All Terrain Vehicles (ATV,) that included CPDs.
Australia’s occupational health and safety (OHS) agenda seems largely dictated by high risk industries like construction in some States and the mining sector in others. But agriculture is common to all Australia States and is consistently included in the official and unofficial workplace fatality data. New research has been released into serious farm injuries and which voices are the most effective in improving the situation.
The level of risk in Australian farms is illustrated well by