Autumn campaign keeps quad bike safety in sights
20 March 2012
The Department of Labour is keeping quad bike safety firmly in its sights for 2012 and is about to begin its autumn campaign to challenge unsafe quad bike use on farms.
Inspectors will return to some of the 880 farms visited in 2011. Where the inspectors find on-going unsafe behaviour, farmers may find themselves with an infringement fee.
“Farmers have made some progress in the last year. Helmet sales are up, and our inspectors are telling us they’re seeing more farmers taking positive safety steps. But there are still farmers out there who aren’t getting the message” says the Department of Labour’s Deputy Chief Executive, Labour Group, Lesley Haines.
“Farms are workplaces and farmers must remember that they have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their staff.”
Around 400 farmers across New Zealand will get a visit from a health and safety inspector between now and May to check they are ensuring the safety of their workers using quad bikes.
In the spring campaign last year 197 compliance actions were taken by inspectors including 97 written warnings, one prohibition notice and one infringement notice. The vast majority of these actions were for not wearing a helmet.
A critical safety step for farmers is to assess the competence of their workers and provide the right training to ensure safe quad bike use.
“We know that accidents aren’t just happening to inexperienced or new riders. Experience can be an advantage, but it can breed complacency, particularly if the person is self-taught. We encourage farmers and their workers to go through a quad bike rider training course – this is the best way to ensure people learn the skills they need to ride safely”, says Ms Haines.
The Department’s quad bike safety campaign has four key safety steps:
- ensure riders are trained and experienced
- always wear a helmet
- never let kids ride adult quad bikes
- choose the right vehicle for the job.
“An average of 850 people are being seriously injured each year and five people are dying as a result of quad bike accidents. We must reduce this toll”, says Ms Haines
Notes to Editor
- An interim update on the autumn quad bike farm visits will be provided in May
- More information on quad bike safety is available on our website
- Guidelines for the Safe Use of Quad Bikes is available online