A CONFRONTING public awareness campaign highlighting the risks associated with quad bike use has been launched by WorkSafe Victoria.
The centrepiece of the campaign is a graphic TV commercial showing a farmer dying under a quad bike after a rollover.
The campaign is the latest stage of an ongoing strategy by WorkSafe to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries associated with the use of quad bikes.
In March, WorkSafe announced that rollover protection devices would be added to the list of safety measures employers would need to consider to ensure risks to quad bike operators were minimised.
The strategy was given a boost in July when the Victorian Government announced a $6 million rebate scheme that would provide farmers with either $600 to fit rollover protection on their quad bike or $1,200 towards buying an alternative work vehicle.
Finance Minister Robin Scott said WorkSafe’s new campaign would help raise awareness among farmers about the risks of quad bike rollovers and encourage them to make use of the rebate scheme.
“Too many Victorians have been killed or injured while riding a quad bike, and the Government is determined to do what it can to reduce this terrible toll,” Mr Scott said.
WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams,
said the new campaign was designed to make farmers stop and
think about the potential rollover risks associated with quad bikes.
“Tragically, two men have already died on farms in Victoria this year after being crushed under their quad bikes, which is why we make no apologies for the confronting nature of our new campaign,” Ms Williams said.
Ms Williams said she hoped farmers would make use of the rebate scheme to buy an alternative work vehicle or to fit a rollover protection device to their quad bike.
“If farmers don’t want to do it for themselves, they should consider their families and how they would suffer if they lost their breadwinner as a result of a quad bike rolling over,” Ms Williams said.
“Hopefully, our new campaign will inspire them to make quad bike safety their number one priority.”
Ms Williams said it was important to remind farmers that they should always select the most appropriate vehicle for the task: “This may not be a quad bike,” she said.
If it was a quad bike, appropriately fitted rollover protection would never on its own constitute a safe system of work, she said.
“Other safety measures are just as important. For example, operators should wear helmets, be appropriately trained and the vehicles should be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, and used for the purpose in which they were designed.
“Passengers should not be carried and adult-sized quad bikes should not be operated by children under 16.”
The quad bike safety campaign will run on regional TV, in print, on billboards and online until early next 2017.
For more details on quad bike safety, or to learn about the new quad bike safety rebate scheme, go to www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/farmsafety or the Victorian Farmers Federation website www.bequadsafe.com.au