Home' Otago Southland Farmer : November 2nd 2012 Contents 14
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Quad bike deaths reignite safety concerns
By CARMEN HALL
This year five people including a 10-year-
old boy have been killed in quad bike
related accidents despite new safety
guidelines that were launched in February
2011 by the Minister of Labour Kate
Shane White, the son of a Wairarapa share
milking family, was killed while riding on the
family property on October 10 while an
Australian woman died the following day at
Onewhero after being severely injured in a
quad bike accident days into her New
Labour Group Ministry of Business,
Innovation & Employment (formerly the
Department of Labour) Senior Public
Information Advisor Hazel Penfold says The
Ministry is intensifying its enforcement
efforts across the country, particularly
during the busy summer months.
The Ministry s Health and Safety Inspectors
have the authority to visit workplaces to
assess safety and investigate accidents.
The Ministry s enforcement tools range from
negotiating agreements for safety
improvements, to issuing warning notices
requiring improvements, to stopping use of
dangerous equipment and in serious cases
There will be a strong focus on revisiting
farms which have already undergone
assessments, and in particular those which
were issued with a written warning.
One of the Ministry s key safety steps is that
children should not ride quad bikes, she says.
You must be over 16 years of age to ride an
adult-sized quad bike.
Manufacturer s recommendations should
always be consulted for the particular
According to statistics on average 850
people are injured riding quad bikes on farms
each year and five people die.
Most accidents and injuries are caused by
roll-over events due to uneven or dangerous
terrain, unbalanced load or towing, rider
inattention, or the quad bike being used
beyond its limits.
Quad bikes are invaluable farm tools when
they are used for the right tasks, but pushing
them beyond their limitations to do things or
go places they were never designed for can
have disastrous consequences, she says.
Research shows that having no formal
training contributes to the severity of quad
bike injuries while those that have formal
rider training are at a reduced risk of being
killed on a quad bike.
There is no specific law covering helmets,
training, rider age, passengers and towing/
carrying limits on quad bikes.
However, when quad bikes are being used
for work purposes -- as they are on farms --
they are covered by the Health and Safety in
This Act requires employers to take all
practicable steps to prevent employees and
others from being harmed in their
Research also suggests that many of those
injured or killed on quad bikes are not
necessarily new or inexperienced riders.
While experience can be an advantage, it can
also breed complacency.
If bad habits are ingrained through years of
riding quad bikes in an unsafe manner, then
the rider -- no matter how experienced -- is at
a very high risk.
People who work with machinery on farms,
including quads, know that you invite trouble
once you get in the habit of cutting corners
Rushing on quads is a very common factor in
accidents where riders lose control.
Meanwhile studies in New Zealand and
overseas suggests that factors like long
working hours (leading to fatigue) play an
important role in health and safety on farms.
Factors such as stress and fatigue could also
make someone more likely to neglect basic
safety rules, making an injury more likely.
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