News article published

Wednesday 26 Jun 2019

Industries and topics

  • Agriculture

Larneuk Stud Pty Ltd had applied to VCAT to have three improvement notices overturned after they were issued at a horse stud near Euroa in 2018.

The notices required the employer to eliminate the risk of a quad bike overturning as far as reasonably practicable.

If this was not reasonably practicable, the employer was required to reduce the risk of a quad bike overturning so far as reasonably practicable.

The notices indicated that the employer could achieve compliance by measures including, but not limited to:

  • Retrofitting an appropriate operator protective device to the quad bikes, or
  • Using alternative vehicles that were appropriately fitted with rollover protection, such as side-by-side vehicles or utility vehicles.

The employer withdrew the application on day four of the VCAT hearing on June 14, after the Tribunal had heard evidence from three WorkSafe witnesses, including an independent expert engineer.

The withdrawal means that WorkSafe's improvement notices are maintained.

After the hearing, WorkSafe Director of Enforcement Paul Fowler said employers needed to do everything they could to prevent workers from being injured if there was a risk of a quad bike rolling over.

"Safety regulations for quad bikes require employers to do everything reasonably practicable to control the risk of workers being injured," Mr Fowler said.

"This includes general safety measures, such as ensuring helmets are worn, quad bikes are properly maintained, and riders are adequately trained, and also considering other measures that specifically reduce the risk of injury should a quad bike roll over.

"WorkSafe accepts that fitting appropriate operator protective devices to quad bikes, or using alternative vehicles to quad bikes, can be reasonably practicable steps for employers to adopt."

WorkSafe began enforcement activity in March 2018 to ensure employers were controlling the risk of quad bike rollovers. It has since issued more than 340 compliance notices.

A rebate scheme to assist farmers fit operator protective devices, or switch to more terrain-appropriate vehicles, remains available. For details, go to worksafe.vic.gov.au or contact the Victorian Farmers Federation.

An assessment tool to help employers assess the safety risks to workers using quad bikes is available at http://quadbikes.wsvdigital.com/