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Clarification Needed on Alleged Operator Protective Device Mandate for ATVs

The FCAI is calling for clarification following media reporting this morning that operator protective devices (OPDs, also known as Crush Protection Devices or CPDs) will become mandated on ATVs in Victoria.

WorkSafe Victoria is quoted as saying that “While it will not be compulsory for Victorian employers to fit an operator protective device, WorkSafe has made the decision to declare them an appropriate means of controlling the risk of roll-over.”

FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said the proposed safety recommendation is at odds with the most reliable science on the matter, which shows CPDs may cause as many new injuries as they prevent.

“It also flies in the face of the conclusions of the deputy state coroners who recently conducted Coronial Inquests in NSW and QLD,” Mr Weber said

“Both coroners found that there is insufficient evidence to make any such recommendation, and recommended instead that the proponents of OPDs should focus on establishing the safety and benefits of the devices first and foremost.

“If WorkSafe Victoria has new scientific evidence to support their position on OPDs it should disclose that evidence immediately, and put it in the public domain for all ATV users.

“WorkSafe has also created some confusion for farmers in the case where a worker becomes injured on an ATV without an OPD. Would the employer be prosecuted by WorkSafe Victoria?”

“It is unfortunate that this focus on OPDs moves media and public emphasis away from known safety practices, which are proven to significantly improve rider safety.

These practices include the wearing of a helmet and safety gear, never allowing children on adult-sized ATVs, never allowing passengers on single seat ATVs and never riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They also include undertaking training and reading and following the owner’s manual. 

“Safety agencies in the United States have concentrated their efforts on known safety practices and this has seen significant safety improvements,” Mr Weber said.

“The FCAI urges WorkSafe agencies in Australia to encourage known safety practices to achieve immediate improvements for rider safety.”