Quad bike and OPD workplace safety survey report: results and conclusions

Quad bikes Motorcycle riders Occupational health and safety

This project is the largest survey study carried out to date of the in-field workplace experiences of Quad bike riders in regard to their use of Operator Protective Devices (OPDs: a rollbar type device attached to the rear of a Quad bike) and Quad bike specific helmets for Australia, and includes New Zealand. This project provides considerable information regarding the use of OPDs and Quad bike specific helmets, and rollover and other crash events that has not previously been available.

The objectives of this survey-based study project were primarily to identify if the fitment of OPDs caused harm to riders in a rollover crash in the workplace environment (farming, forestry, etc.), and to what extent are OPDs protective in rollover incidents involving Quad bikes.

While there is considerable interest in the farming community and workplace for the fitment of OPDs (also referred to as ‘Crush Protection Devices’ or CPDs) to reduce harm (i.e. severe or fatal injury risk) in rollover incidents with Quad bikes, there is also controversy in regard to the claimed harm of OPDs and their effectiveness. However, until this study there has been no systematic evaluation of the effectiveness of OPDs in the field and importantly, detecting whether in-field use of OPDs has resulted in serious injury to riders. Previous studies have identified that 70% of Quad bike related serious injuries and fatalities result from rollovers. Significantly, there have not been any fatalities identified in this study or elsewhere where the OPD fitted to the Quad bike was causal to a fatal injury. This multi-faceted survey study is in response to this lack of information on actual in-field performance of OPDs in rollovers as opposed to published findings from computer modelling and other tests.

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