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QLD: Quad bike fatality while back-burning

Wednesday, 28 November, 2018 - 12:45
Incidents & prosecutions
National News

A quad bike operator recently suffered fatal injuries while managing a back-burn on a rural property in Queensland.

He was last seen driving up a road and was found deceased about 20 minutes later underneath the quad bike, and he was not wearing a helmet at the time of the incident.

While quad bikes are versatile vehicles and suited to a wide range of work situations, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland said if not operated properly they can be extremely dangerous.

Quad bikes can be unstable due to their light weight and high centre of gravity, and the risk of a rollover is increased when driving on steep terrain, driving at speed, driving on rough terrain or driving across a slope.

Overloading the quad bike, fitting inappropriate attachments, carrying unstable or unbalanced load, and carrying liquid loads (which will affect the weight distribution on the quad bike if the liquid shifts) can also significantly affect the stability of the quad bike and increase the potential for a rollover.

Each year there are around 620 accepted workers’ compensation claims involving a worker being hit or crushed by mobile plant. On average two of these involve a fatality, while 40 per cent (about 250 claims) result in a serious injury requiring five or more days off work.

The proportion which involve serious injuries is higher than for all workers’ compensation injuries, where around 30 per cent are serious.

Since 1 July 2013, there have been 67 notified work-related incidents involving quad bikes in Queensland. Of these, nine were fatal and 38 resulted in a serious injury. Thirty-four were in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry.

In November 2016 a company was fined $125,000 when a 21-year-old inexperienced worker sustained fatal head injuries. The company undertook cattle mustering using quad bikes.

The worker was employed as a station hand for the property and assisted with mustering. At the time of the incident, she was operating a quad bike mustering over 600 cattle. She was not wearing a helmet, came off the quad bike and was killed.