Just like Big Tobacco before it, the quad bike industry has been adamant its machinery is not responsible for the deaths of Australian farmers – rather that they got themselves killed.
The Weekly Times and SafetyOzBlog have reported the gyrations of the manufacturers and their representatives, the FCAI, which even included forcing some sponsored riders to remove crush protection devices. They claimed that the only answer was more rider education and that rider error was almost invariably the cause of the 23 deaths on farm ATVs in 2011 so far.
I thought it was all over bar the shouting match when The Weekly Times reported that the FCAI had dropped its opposition to Australia’s crush protection device, the Quadbar. Then I heard that at least one manufacturer has advised its dealers that its position is unchanged.
Now, the SafetyOzBlog carries this media release from the respected and independent Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety tearing strips off the FCAI for failing to correct what the ACCC described as misleading and deceptive conduct.
“Embarrassing or not, the families of those people killed and permanently injured in such rollover events have a right to know why the FCAI, as suggested by the ACCC, has not only misrepresented the evidence but why they have not addressed this issue in a timely manner. The inaction and questionable approach of both the FCAI and manufacturers is showing complete disregard for the safety of their customers.”
People on our farms are dying. No matter who is responsible for the rollovers, the Quadbar is estimated to protect between one in four and one in three people. It’s worth it.
For more information on quad bike safety, call the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety (02 6752 8210) or visiting the website at www.aghealth.org.au