Tuesday 23 May 2017

Supreme Court quad bike proceeding dismissed

The Supreme Court proceeding issued by Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and other quad bike manufacturers against WorkSafe Victoria was dismissed just prior to a trial that was listed to commence yesterday.

The manufacturers had wanted the Supreme Court to rule that WorkSafe’s public announcements about quad bike safety were unlawful. The challenge has been dismissed and will not proceed to trial.

WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, described the outcome as vindication of WorkSafe’s new approach in relation to quad bike safety.

“WorkSafe was always confident that its public announcements were lawful and appropriate, so having this case dismissed is very pleasing,” Ms Williams said.

“As we have always said, suitably designed and tested rollover protection devices on quad bikes are a means of reducing the risk to operators in the event of a rollover.

“The use of rollover protection devices on quad bikes will save lives and we will continue to promote this safety message.”

Since the start of the Supreme Court action, the manufacturers had made and amended their statement of claim three times. In an effort to resolve the proceedings, WorkSafe offered to make some minor amendments to the language in its public statements that clarified its position.

The manufacturers accepted WorkSafe’s offer and agreed to the Supreme Court claim being dismissed.

"The changes we have agreed to in our statements were minimal and do not hinder in any way our new approach to quad bike safety, or our powers of enforcement," Ms Williams said.

Ms Williams said that despite the Supreme Court action, WorkSafe had continued to explain its revised safety strategy to employer groups and industry stakeholders across the state.

“Our new approach will save lives, but we want to make sure that everyone understands our strategy and has time to comply before we consider taking enforcement action, such as the issuing of improvement notices,” Ms Williams said.

WorkSafe will continue to work with the Victorian Farmers Federation in offering a rebate of up to $600 for the purchase of a rollover protection device for a quad bike or up to $1200 for the purchase of a more appropriate vehicle such as a side by side vehicle or a small utility vehicle.

The rebate scheme has been hugely successful and so far more than 1500 farmers have taken up the offer.

Further Information

WorkSafe media enquiries: Peter Flaherty: 0478 881 663, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Caitlin Rode: 0434 685 577, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Public enquiries: Call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, email info@worksafe.vic.gov.au or write to Advisory Service, PO Box 4306, Melbourne, 3001.