Machinery Safety & Hazard Guidance

NSW Quick Hitch Position

NSW Quick Hitch Position




NSW released a revised position paper covering supply, installation and use of quick hitches.
In early 2014 WorkCover NSW (now SafeWork NSW) released a position paper covering the supply, installation and use of semi-automatic quick hitches on excavators and backhoes.


In June of that year, we published an explanatory article in our newsletter, which also outlined the initial stance of other Australian regulators on the NSW position paper.

Recently, SafeWork released a revised position paper, expanding on and clarifying its position on the range of quick hitches available.


There are two key changes in this latest position paper:


  1. The existing deadline on the supply and installation of semi automatic quick hitches remains 30 April 2014, however semi-automatic hitches installed before 30 April 2014 can only be used until 31 December 2022
  2. Fully automatic hitches that allow the attachment to swing if the primary retention device fails cannot be supplied or installed after 31 December 2015. Fully automatic hitches that allow swinging installed before 31 December 2015 can only be used until 31 December 2022


Manual hitches and fully automatic hitches complying with AS4772 that do not allow the attachment to swing if the primary retention device fails can be supplied, installed and used as per the manufacturers instructions at anytime.


Plant Assessor assessment questions on machines that use quick hitches will be updated to apply these specific requirements on 1 January 2016.


Summary of SafeWork NSW’s revised position on quick hitches Plant

Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 3.57.26 pm



There are two steps required to answer the Plant Assessor questions regarding quick hitches:

Step 1 – Identify the type of hitch

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Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 3.57.51 pm

Step 2 – Answer Specific Plant Assessor Quick Hitch Questions


Plant Assessor contains a number of specific questions for each type of hitch. Once the type of hitch has been identified, inspectors simply need to provide a yes or no answer to these clearly explained questions. Almost all of these questions can be answered via a visual inspection.

In relation to the last type (Automatic hitch – does not allow detaching or swinging), a visual inspection may not allow an inspector to determine if the requirements of the Plant Assessor question for this type of hitch are fully met (i.e. has a primary and secondary locking device). An inspector may have to refer to the OEM to ensure the hitch satisfies these requirements.


By taking a structured and logical approach to the different requirements on these hitches, we help inspectors understand and manage compliance with what is a complex area of plant & equipment safety.


Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information. Please contact us for further assistance.

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