Well, the much anticipated WorkCover NSW Quick Hitch Position Paper has now been released. Access the Position Paper document here. The new requirements take effect from 31/12/2013. You can read in more detail the key criteria when selecting your hitches on our Quick Hitch Update, however our interpretation of the requirements is that there are about a dozen automatic hitch designs now available in Australia that meet the new requirements. Note: These changes only apply in NSW at present. Also, existing hitches on existing machines are not necessarily required to be changed, provided the other conditions in the Position Paper are met.
To choose between these models, we recommend you consider the following three points:
Swinging Attachments – the position paper states that the rules will likely change in the next year or two to prevent swinging attachments. So you do not have to change your new hitch again very soon, make sure your hitch fully encloses BOTH front and rear pin.
“Prevent unintended activation of controls used to disengage the hitch” – if your hitch can release the attachment in any position by flicking a switch in the cab, the new requirements do next to nothing in terms of adding safety. Make sure the hitch can only be released consciously in a safe position, for instance fully crowded in or using a determined sequence.
Fail to Safe – in the event that the machine stops or is off, the hitch should automatically (without hydraulic assistance) return to the locked safe position, irrespective of the starting position of the hitch. For instance, if the safety system relies on a bar or pin being in a particular position, the hitch loses its safety system possibly when it is needed most.
After extensive assessment of the different hitch options available worldwide, RD Williams believes the Tefra Hitch to be the only hitch that meets all these requirements. Its’ simple design also means it is available at a competitive price.
As always, onwards and upwards!