Cam­paign out­lines four ba­sic steps to quad bike safety

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

The death of a teenager on quad bike ear­lier this month has added im­pe­tus to a Govern­ment cam­paign to im­prove quad bike safety.

Re­nee McNelis, 17, died on Novem­ber 8 as she spread fer­tiliser on a West­port farm.

Just four days ear­lier Min­is­ter of Labour Kate Wilkin­son launched a cam­paign aimed at re­duc­ing se­ri­ous in­juries and deaths on farms from quad bike ac­ci­dents.

In fact only hours af­ter the cam­paign was launched two farm work­ers in the Hawke’s Bay were hos­pi­talised fol­low­ing an ac­ci­dent.

‘‘Ev­ery year on av­er­age five peo­ple die and 850 are in­jured on farms while rid­ing quad bikes,’’ Ms Wilkin­son said.

‘‘This cam­paign will pro­mote four ba­sic safety steps that can pre­vent in­juries.’’

The four steps are wear­ing hel­mets, en­sur­ing rid­ers are trained and ex­pe­ri­ence, not let­ting chil­dren ride bikes above 90cc and choos­ing the cor­rect ve­hi­cle for the job.

Farm­ers who don’t fol­low these safety steps risk penal­ties un­der the Health and Safety in Em­ploy­ment Act if some­one work­ing on their farm is se­ri­ously in­jured or killed.

‘‘Quad bikes are of­ten re­ferred to as All Ter­rain Ve­hi­cles or ATVs. But they can’t go ev­ery­where and do ev­ery­thing,’’ Ms Wilkin­son said.

‘‘Rid­ers need to re­spect their lim­its and fol­low the safety in­struc­tions in their owner’s man­ual.’’

The cam­paign is sup­ported by ACC and the Mo­tor In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion, which rep­re­sents quad bike man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Farm­Safe chair­man Char­lie Ped­er­sen sup­ported the Govern­ment’s ef­forts.

‘‘It is great to see Min­is­ter of Labour Kate Wilkin­son cham­pi­oning an ef­fort to im­prove the safety on farms and for farm­ing fam­i­lies,’’ Mr Ped­er­sen said.

‘‘For 10 years the Agri­cul­tural Health and Safety Coun­cil helped by Fed­er­ated Farm­ers and Farm­Safe, have been lead­ing ef­forts to im­prove the safe use of ATVs on our farms.’’

The ATV guide­lines were de­vel­oped and launched by the Agri­cul­tural Health and Safety Coun­cil nine years ago and have be­come the foun­da­tion for im­prov­ing ATV safety on farms.

‘‘It is heart­en­ing to see the Min­is­ter of Labour em­pha­sis­ing some key el­e­ments of the guide­lines’’ Char­lie Ped­er­sen said.

Early next year Farm­Safe will launch an ATV Li­cence for farm users. This li­cence will ver­ify rid­ers’ abil­ity and skill to op­er­ate an ATV on New Zealand farms.

‘‘We hope the li­cence along with Kate Wilkin­son’s ef­forts will fur­ther im­prove the safe use of ATVs on our farms,’’ Mr Ped­er­sen said.

The li­cence will co­in­cide with pro­mo­tion by the Depart­ment of Labour of the four ba­sic safety steps in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. It will also pub­lish re­vised safety guide­lines for farm quad bikes.

From April 2011 the cam­paign will broaden to in­clude en­force­ment. In­spec­tors will fo­cus on farms and, where peo­ple are work­ing with quad bikes in a dan­ger­ous way, in­spec­tors are likely to take ac­tion.

‘‘The long-term goal is for no one to be in­jured work­ing on farm quad bikes,’’ Ms Wilkin­son said.

Photo: WAIKATO TIMES

SAFETY FIRST: Kate Wilkin­son launched a new quad bike safety cam­paign at Mys­tery Creek this month, as part of the event Mrs Wilkin­son was shown how to safely drive a quad bike by An­drew Simp­son from Ag Chal­lenge Ltd.

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