With ACC claims for occupational quad bike accidents falling by 17 percent and serious harm down ten percent, a combined Government and industry focus on health and safety is working.
“Over the Christmas and New Year period there was a spike in accidents but many of the high profile ones were recreational and not occupational,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Health & Safety spokesperson.
“While quad bikes are mostly used on-farm, not all accidents are farm related. That distinction is an important one because farm-related quad bike injury and death remains thankfully rare, especially when compared to the road and drowning tolls.
“With some 100,000 quad bikes in New Zealand they easily outnumber the number of registered motorcycles too.
“That is why Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) research affirms what we in the industry know; farmers are adopting health and safety as good business practice.
“This MBIE survey reports that 16 percent more farmers reported some or all riders wearing helmets than in 2010. Quad bike helmet sales almost doubled in the year to June 2012 so the message is getting out there and is being acted upon.
“And it is not just quad bikes but general farm safety. Agricultural ACC claims in 2011 were 15.6 percent lower than what they were in 2009.
“Federated Farmers recommends farmers go over their farm hazards with all visitors as a way to continually refresh their own understanding of them.
“Federated Farmers also offers a plain-English Occupational Health and Safety Manual. This is written for farm employers by farm employers in order to meet legal obligations relating to health and safety.
“This costs next to nothing for our members and is available via 0800 327 646 (0800 FARMING) or from Federated Farmers shop at www.fedfarm.org.nz.
“While we fully support the Ministry’s quad bike and safety messaging, farmers can also do things to help themselves out.
“We heavily recommend farmers working alone should brief family or staff about where they are working and their expected arrival time back.
“And always carry a radio telephone, a mobile phone or if you are in an area of little or no radio coverage, a GPS-equipped Personal Locator Beacon,” Mrs Maxwell concluded.