Given renewed media coverage around quad bike safety, Federated Farmers is re-iterating the work it is doing seeking to improving safety around these vehicles on farms.
The Federation is a very active member of the Agricultural Health and Safety Council and is working to improve New Zealand’s on-farm safety record across the board. This is a serious and difficult issue for the industry which Federated Farmers is taking a proactive role in.
Solutions can be complex. If there was an obvious solution that made quad bikes much safer we would certainly support it.
The Federation has done this in the case of installing alarms alerting riders when they have left their quad bikes in reverse gear. However, in the case of roll bars, when manufacturers and other researchers looked at the risks and benefits of fitting these to quad bikes, the outcomes were very mixed.
Quad bikes, like other machinery and vehicles can be very dangerous and must be treated with respect by the people who are operating them. Attitude and aptitude matter.
The Federation recommends farmers ensure that their bikes are in good working order, and to wear helmets when appropriate when riding quad bikes in accordance with the Health and Safety in Employment Act which requires employers to take all practicable steps to avoid workplace injuries.
Together with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Federated Farmers has also been encouraging farmers to make sure all quad bike users on their farms are trained in active riding techniques which are required to operate quad bikes safely across rural terrain.
The Federation is also supportive of restricting the age of riders and ensuring farmers choose the right vehicle for the job.
The Federation also supports these measures being applied to recreational riders, but has no mandate over this area of quad bike use.
People are our greatest asset, so it is just common sense for farmers to be very proactive in all aspects of on-farm safety, including quad bike use, to avoid unnecessary harm, injury and death.