Farm safety critical: survivor tells story of quad bike accidents

Graham Brown speaks of his accident.
Graham Brown speaks of his accident.

GRAHAM Brown knows well the dangers of a quad bike.

He was spraying a boundary fence on his property  in 2015 when he “looked away at the wrong time, hit a piece of wood and went over.

“I knew I was gone, so I just grabbed hold of the handlebars and clung on,” he said on Friday, as SafeWork NSW, NSW police and politicians spilled onto his Springside property to promote quad bike safety.

Mr Brown has become something of an ambassador for farm safety since his accident and Innovation and Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean chose his farm for a safety roadshow today.

This year NSW police and SafeWork will join forces to help push the safety message at all agricultural shows and field days, Mr Kean said.

He said contemplating enforcement across farms in NSW was impractical – behavioural change was needed.

Mr Brown said both his shoulder and hip had to be replaced, he broke multiple ribs and need extensive surgery on his wrist.

He’s back on the quad now, it’s fitted with a roll bar, but he prefers his side by side.

NSW Police Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside and Innovation and Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean listen as Graham Brown exhorts farmers to be careful and think safety first "because life is precious".

NSW Police Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside and Innovation and Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean listen as Graham Brown exhorts farmers to be careful and think safety first "because life is precious".

NSW Police rural crime coordinator Cameron Whiteside said he and his colleagues rued arriving on a farm tasked with delivering news of a death or injury.

“Quad bikes are not toys,” he said.

“Yeaching children about the importance of farm safety will help them form positive attitudes and behaviour about safety that will last to adulthood,” said Det Inspector Whiteside said.

He said the police would also offer kids who visit the SafeWork, NSW Police sites at shows or field days a free showbag.

Bathurst MP Paul Toole said farm safety was critical and any steps towards improving it was a positive thing.

All involved in today’s safety roadshow said rebates of as much as $2000 to change from a quad bike to a side by side, $500 to fit a roll bar or $90 to buy a helmet.

Also on show were some of the lightweight new styles of helmet.

Mr Kean said $1.4 million had been so far granted to farmers to upgrade their vehicle or improve safety.

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