EXCLUSIVE: A QUAD bike manufacturer has broken ranks to support roll-over protection.
ODES Australia, which imports all-terrain vehicles from China, is the first to support the devices, flying in the face of a campaign against roll-over protection by other major manufacturers.
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ODES dealers have been "encouraged" to tell customers about them. ODES cites recommendations made by the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities, which released its strategy about six months ago.
"As a result of the findings, we now encourage all of our ODES dealer network to advise their customers on the availability of a CPD (crush protection device)," ODES wrote in a newsletter to suppliers.
ODES imports ATVs from China and is in the top 10 importers-manufacturers of ATVs in Australia. It has 40 dealerships across Australia.
ODES managing director Ken Higgins did not want to comment on his support of the recommendations.
"At this stage we would not like to comment, to allow our dealers to seek their own independent legal advice," Mr Higgins said.
"I want my dealers to understand it is not just a marketing plan from my company."
While ODES has backed the HWSA recommendation, which supports the fitting of roll-over protection, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries remains opposed.
FCAI chief executive Ian Chalmers said the organisation and its members were concerned the HWSA recommendation on roll-over protection systems "placed responsibility on the user to make the decision on whether or not to fit the device".
"There are no Australian or international standards regarding ROPS/CPDs on ATVs and there is consequently no credible means by which structural adequacy of the devices can objectively be assessed," Mr Chalmers said.
The FCAI's position against ROPS and CPDs was "supported by all members", he said. And the decision was based on "international research, which found that all ROPS and CPDs examined at the time posed an unacceptably high risk of creating new injuries".
But Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety director Tony Lower said the decision by ODES Australia was based on evidence that supported the fitting of CPDs.
"This is an initial positive step by one of the manufacturers that has been represented on the HWSA quad bike working group," Dr Lower said.
"It starts to address the legal safety requirements for manufacturers and suppliers selling quad bikes."
John Lambert, an independent engineer and supporter of the crush protection devices, said it was "great that ODES is promoting consideration of CPDs".
"(But) their sales are probably in the 2 per cent of the Australian market range, so it only represents a thin wedge."
Mr Lambert said other dealers were telling their customers to consider using CPDs, which was "the responsible thing to do", but there were even more who were following the major manufacturers' line to warn against fitting them.
Two people have died in ATV accidents this year - a 19-year-old man near Binningup in Western Australia last week and an 18-year-old woman in northern Queensland on the weekend.
Last year, 23 people were killed in ATV accidents.