Spotlight on quad bike and tractor safety

Improving workplace quad bike safety by introducing mandatory helmet, passenger and age restrictions

To improve the safety of workers and others operating quad bikes in Queensland workplaces, the Office of Industrial Relations (OIR) has introduced new safety measures from 21 March 2024.

Feedback from industry and community consultation in 2022 emphasised the importance of helmets for safety, restricting children from operating adult-sized quad bikes, and limiting passenger carriage to designated vehicles.

The Work Health and Safety (Quad Bikes) Amendment Regulation 2024 does not apply to side-by-side vehicles, or quad bikes used outside workplaces.

It mandates the following safety measures:


All individuals, including passengers, must wear securely fitted and fastened helmets while operating quad bikes.

Generally, helmets can be chosen based on the context in which a quad bike is used. Helmets that are considered appropriate for quad bikes include those compliant with AS/NZS1698, AS1698, ECE 22.05/06. An NZS 8600-02 compliant helmet may also be appropriate, but only if the speed of the quad bike does not exceed 30km/hr.

However, quad bike riders will need approved motorbike helmets if quad bikes are used in places where separate legislation already requires approved motorbike helmets. These areas extend to roads or road-related areas, state forests or timber reserves, protected areas (other than nature refuges or special wildlife reserves) and recreation areas, as administered by the Department of Transport and Main Roads and the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation.

Age restriction

To ride a quad bike, operators must be at least 16 years of age, or the minimum age recommended by the manufacturer. This means that children under 16 are not allowed on adult-sized quad bikes and can only ride on age-appropriate quad bikes in workplaces.

Passenger restriction

Quad bikes cannot carry passengers, unless the vehicle is explicitly designed for passenger use, and the passenger is at least 16 years old or meets the minimum age recommended by the quad bike’s manufacturer.

Enforcement and penalities

The regulation is enforced through OIR’s existing education, compliance, and enforcement program. Penalties apply for non-compliance.

For more information about the Work Health and Safety (Quad Bikes) Amendment Regulation 2024 scan the QR code or email

Managing risks when using tractors

The greatest risk of injury from tractors comes from rollovers, runovers and moving parts. They are heavy vehicles and can crush people or animals.

  • Tractors can roll over on uneven or sloped terrain due to their top-heavy design.
  • Some tractors can be started and will move without a driver, risking runovers.
  • Moving parts on tractors can cause severe injuries or death by entangling clothing or injuring limbs.

Other risks include:

  • injury from collision with other objects including trees, vehicles and overhead power lines
  • injury from heavy objects falling when being lifted
  • noise-induced hearing loss
  • whole body vibration
  • slips, trips and falls while getting on and off the tractor.

Someone who knows all too well the risks that come from using tractors is Workplace Health and Safety Queensland Safety Advocate Garry Nichols.

Scan the QR code to watch Garry’s story.

Garry was an experienced farmer when he lost his leg in a tractor rollover incident which was caused by a hidden rock. Garry suffered traumatic injuries when the tractor rolled and crushed his lower body.

He also lost his farm through the financial hardship that followed.

These steps help minimise the risks that can occur from using a tractor.

Step 1. Identify the risk

Look at where you’ll be using the tractor and ask yourself:

  • Will I be on steep, rough, slippery or loose ground, or will the machinery or attachments I’m towing cause instability?
  • Am I lifting something that could shift and unbalance me or fall on me?>/li>
  • Could anyone fall from the seat or cab and get run over?>/li>
  • Can I start the engine without being in the operator’s seat?>/li>
  • Is the tractor’s electrical system in good working condition?>/li>
  • If there are children around, are they properly supervised?>/li>
  • Am I tired or working with drugs or alcohol in my system?>/li>

Also, ask other workers if they are aware of any potential hazards before you start work.

Identifying hazards should be a continuous and annual process, especially with changes in equipment, facilities or work practices.

Step 2. Assess the risk

Next, assess the level of risk posed by each hazard. The risk level is determined by:

  • how serious the potential harm is
  • how likely it is to happen.
  • You can find a risk assessment template at

Step 3. Control the risk

The law requires you to eliminate risks if practical, or to minimise them as much as possible.

You should use the hierarchy of controls to select the most effective method to reduce or eliminate risks, possibly combining multiple measures.

Find the hierarchy of controls in the How to manage work health and safety risks code of practice 2021 at

To control risk consider:

  • general tractor safety precaution
  • protective structures for falling objects during tree felling or similar tasks
  • suitable training for safe tractor operation and experience gain.

Step 4. Review the risk controls

Regularly review and proactively update your safety protocols to ensure a risk-free work environment.

Article kindly provided by Workplace Health & Safety Queensland