Campaign outlines four basic steps to quad bike safety
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.
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.