A 65-year-old farmer who went out to spread cattle feed on his property at Tingha in northern NSW has been found dead after his quad bike overturned after sliding down an embankment.
Police say that the man’s family reported him missing on Sunday afternoon (September 11) but that an organised search was unable to find him before sunset.
Searchers found the farmers remains near the quad bike in the bottom of a creek bed, four metres below an embankment soon after the search was resumed on Monday (September 12).
Inspector Rowan O’Brien from the New England Local Area Command told reporters: “In the early stages of that search the 65-year-old male was located deceased.”
WorkCover NSW – the government body responsible for promoting productive, healthy and safe places of employment – has recently begun a campaign to spread awareness of the dangers posed by using quad bikes.
Director of operations at the department Tony Williams has spoken to reporters on the risks faced by farmers who relied extensively on the open-topped all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).
“We continue to have fatalities each and every year caused by people dying once they’ve been asphyxiated under these machines, which can weigh anything up to 300 kilograms,” said Williams.
Promotional materials issued by the department provide farmers with advice on what to consider when buying or using a quad bike.
Factors to consider include the needs of the agricultural business and the safety features included.
Farmers are also urged to undergo accredited training to learn more about the specific design of their vehicle, in addition to wearing personal protective equipment while riding.
In 2011, there have been 16 deaths on farms that are attributable to quad bikes, with rollovers resulting in crushing injuries and asphyxiation making up the leading cause of deaths in agriculture in Australia – double that of tractor accidents.
These statistics do not include the number of non-lethal head and spine injuries that are inflicted on riders.
If a worker suffers while discharging their duties – such as distributing feed from a quad bike – the may be eligible to apply for compensation through a personal injury lawyer.
Provisions can also be made for the families of victims who die as the result of a workplace accident to receive payments to cover their economic losses.
Experienced compensation lawyers will be able to provide relatives and loved ones with advice on how best to proceed with a claim.