Release of authoritative quad bike safety report is still not enough for the Federal Minister

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.

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Two exemptions to Victoria’s Industrial Manslaughter laws

Every industry sector should have its own occupational health and safety (OHS) conference.  This allows for specific OHS topics to be presented but also provides for a broader context. The recent conference conducted by the Victorian Branch of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) was a great example.

So close to a State election and in the lead-up to a Federal election it was not surprising that the trade union movement’s Change The Rules campaign gained attention, as did the push for the introduction of Industrial Manslaughter laws, in the presentation by Dr Paul Sutton.

The main points of his presentation are familiar and have been reported on previously but this presentation included news about two exemptions to the laws which may raise uncomfortable questions. 

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ACCC slaps down the FCAI on quad bike safety

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. 

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The wisdom of a farming Near Miss

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

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Mandatory quad bike safety changes

Product Safety has never been far from the quad bike safety debate in Australia.

Three Wheeler Honda ATV

It was Product Safety that removed the three-wheel ATV from sale in the 1970s and 80s and it seems Product Safety may achieve a safety resolution that occupational health and safety (OHS) consultation could not.

On March 22, 2018 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued a media statement that says the ACCC, amongst other actions:

“…is proposing a mandatory safety standard that:….requires manufacturers to integrate an operator protection device, such as a crush protection device or roll over protection device in the design of new quad bikes…..”

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