In 2012, quad bike accidents resulted in the deaths of 19 Australians, aged between 5 and 78, according to Safe Work Australia.
Catastrophic injuries can occur when these machines collide with other objects, when they flip and crush their rider or when the rider is thrown from them at high speed.
They can happen in any situation too. Six of those who died in quad bike related incidents last year were working at the time, the rest were engaging in recreational activities.
Farm Safe Australia revealed in January that there were an additional 78 non-fatal quad bike related injury events in 2012, with 57 per cent occurring on farms.
So far in 2013, there have been six quad bike deaths and Safe Work Australia chief executive officer Rex Hoy has called for more urgent action to help prevent this toll from rising further.
“With over an estimated 220,000 quad bikes in Australia and more than 150 Australians from the ages of 4 to 94 dying from quad bike incidents since 2001, we need to work together to improve safety for quad bike users,” said Mr Hoy in an April 26 statement.
The Safe Work chief executive notes in particular that nine people have died from quad bike incidents since minister for employment and relations Bill Shorten hosted a quad bike safety forum last October.
That forum saw the minister meet with farmers’ representatives, emergency services personnel, community groups and quad bike manufacturers to address what measures might be taken to improve the safety of quad bikes.
At the time, minister Shorten said there was an urgent need to “develop a nationally applicable technical standard for all crush protection devices”.
Yet according to Mr Hoy, action on the matter has not yet materialised and recent deaths could possibly have been prevented had such a standard been enforced.
Mr Hoy called on quad bike manufacturers to improve the design of the vehicles, which are prone to rolling over, and to install crush protection devices to reduce the likelihood of death if they do roll over.
“If we don’t act immediately more of our sons, daughters, fathers, mothers and friends will be dead from quad bike incidents,” said Mr Hoy.
“We need to ask ourselves how much a life is worth opposed to the cost of a crush protection device.”
Quad bike accidents, like other work accidents, can incapacitate workers such that they can no longer perform their roles.
Those workers may be able to access benefits by making personal disability claims through their insurance or superannuation policy.
Compensation lawyers can help injured workers to clarify their entitlements and can assist throughout the claims process.