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AustralianFarmers

Coroner finds OPD would have saved farmer’s life

The Victorian Coroner has found an operator protection device (OPD) would have saved the life of a 69-year-old farmer who suffered fatal head and chest injuries in a quad bike rollover incident in 2017.

In the findings released today, the Coroner supports the ACCC’s ‘comprehensive report’ and recommendations to Government to mandate OPDs and other safety measures to improve quad bike safety.

In February this year, the ACCC recommended the Government make OPDs compulsory on all quad bikes within 24 months.

National Farmers’ Federation General Manager of Workforce & Legal Affairs Ben Rogers said the evidence was clear: OPDs saved lives.

“The Coroner’s finding adds to a mountain of research that affirms that OPDs can prevent loss of life in incidents of quad bike rollover.

“We hope that the Coroner’s conclusion is the ‘push’ the Government needs to make mandatory OPDs a reality. The evidence is clear and can no longer be ignored.”

The report comes as a coalition of leading rural and medical voices, lead by the NFF, met with MPs and Senators in Canberra this week to plead with the Government to endorse the ACCC’s recommendations.

Mr Rogers said the meetings were largely positive.

“Unfortunately, it appears that quad bike manufacturers continue to peddle mistruths about the role of OPDs.

“In our discussions we were able to set the record straight and we left many of those we met with, with a new more informed view of what’s needed to make these popular but dangerous farm vehicles safer.”

In addition to individual farmers, the delegation included representatives of the National Farmers Federation, Farm Safe, Country Women’s Association of NSW, Royal College of Surgeons and AgHealth Australia.

At the meetings, NSW cattle producer John Lowe shared the below image with MPs and Senators and explained how an OPD allowed him to walk away uninjured when his quad bike hit a wombat hole and rolled while mustering.

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