WorkCover NSW announced this week (July 17) that it will expand the research being currently undertaken on quad bike safety to target one of the biggest causes of death and injury on farms: vehicle rollover.
The safety authority is to begin testing the dynamic handling capabilities of the vehicles in what will be a world-first.
The tests will form part of a project to reduce the number of quad bike deaths and injuries on farms.
John Watson is general manager of WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Division and chair of the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA), which is leading the project.
He says that sixteen vehicles will be involved with the testing, which will progress according to internationally-recognised standards.
That testing will involve driving the quad bikes at different speeds and on varying terrain, and how steering inputs may contribute to or prevent a collision or vehicle rollover.
According to Mr Watson, the research isn’t just novel, but will also extend and improve current work being done to improve the safety of these vehicles.
“This will be the first time dynamic handling testing is conducted on quad bikes, side-by-side vehicles and recreational quad bikes anywhere in the world,” he said in a statement.
“When combined with the project’s static stability testing that uses a specially designed tilt-table to determine the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over, it will significantly increase the validity of the findings,” said Mr Watson.
He says that the work being done by WorkCover could help manufacturers improve the way quad bikes are designed and make them safer for riders.
In addition, he envisages the development of a safety rating system for the vehicles, similar to the star system used for cars.
Key characteristics that each quad bike would be rated on could include handling, stability and crashworthiness.
The combination of these outcomes could help reduce the number of people hurt or killed each year on Australian farms.
Mr Watson views this as an absolute imperative.
“The financial and human costs of quad bike fatalities and injuries on farms can no longer be tolerated.”
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