The Office of Industrial Relations (OIR) is investigating the introduction of work health and safety (WHS) regulations to improve the safety of workers and others when operating quad bikes and side-by-side vehicles (SSV) at a workplace.
This includes mandating:
- helmet use
- no kids on adult quad bikes and SSVs
- certain passenger restrictions for some vehicles
- seat belts for some SSVs (where they have been installed).
NOTE: The private use of quad bikes and SSVs outside of a workplace is not captured within the scope of this proposal.
Quad bikes and SSVs are popular vehicles due to their adaptability, ease of operation and low running costs and are often used by farmers, producers, local and state governments, search and rescue teams, and adventure tourism.
However, their use is associated with a high number of injuries and fatalities. This was highlighted in the 2015 Coronial inquest, which examined nine deaths caused by quad bike accidents in Queensland between 2012–14 and recommended introducing regulations to improve quad bike and SSV safety.
This Quad bikes and side-by-side vehicles safety—Proposed work health and safety regulation—Discussion paper seeks feedback on the proposed scope of the regulations and the practical impacts for individuals, businesses, and the broader community.
Feedback will inform the development of proposed regulations for quad bike and SSV safety under the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (WHS Regulation).
As a longer-term objective the Discussion paper also invites feedback on the introduction of training requirements for the safe and competent operation of quad bikes in the workplace.
You are invited to read the Quad bikes and side-by-side vehicles safety—Proposed Work Health and Safety regulations—Discussion paper.
Written submissions were sought from all interested parties on the specific questions and key issues identified in the Discussion paper.
Consultation closed Wednesday, 31 August 2022.
Outcome of consultation
In 2022, OIR released a public consultation paper on proposed amendments to the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (WHS Regulation) for quad bike and side by side vehicle (SSV) use in workplaces.
The proposed amendments were primarily based on the recommendations from the 2015 Inquest into nine (9) deaths caused by Quad Bike accidents. The recommendations included a number of regulatory amendments relating to helmets, training, as well as age and passenger restrictions for quad bikes and SSVs.
OIR received 56 responses to the public consultation paper from interested parties including primary producers, peak industry bodies and government agencies.
The themes that emerged from the feedback included:
- Quad bikes and SSVs are different vehicles with different risk profiles.
- SSVs are of much lower risk than quad bikes.
- The use of helmets was agreed to make quad bike use safer, however, prescribing specific types of helmets is challenging, given the varied nature of quad bike use across a number of industries and regions.
- Children and passengers have no place on an adult quad bike, unless the quad bike is designed for this purpose.
- Appropriate and targeted training is generally viewed as a way to improve safety on quad bikes, however, further consideration is required to understand whether prescribed training is feasible, useful and accessible for quad bike users (many of whom are in rural and remote locations).
Considering the feedback received, at this time, OIR intends to progress amendments to the WHS Regulation in relation to quad bikes only.
The proposed amendments are as follows:
A quad bike is only to be operated by a person who is at least 16 years of age (or the minimum age recommended by the quad bike’s manufacturer).
A quad bike is not to be used to carry a passenger unless it is designed to do so, and the passenger is at least 16 years of age (or the minimum age recommended by the quad bike’s manufacturer).
A person, including a passenger, must wear a securely fitted and fastened helmet.
OIR also intends to provide information on quad bike and SSV safety within the Rural Plant Code of Practice 2005 (currently under review). This will include practical guidance about appropriate helmet types for the various types of work contexts in which quad bikes are used.
It is anticipated that improving quad bike safety in workplaces will have a positive impact on all quad bike use, including outside of work contexts and on private land.
The Government will continue to monitor and evaluate incident data to inform future policy decisions on quad bike and SSV safety.