Monday, March 4, 2024

Deaths prompt call for relook at quad bikes

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Safer Farms pleads for ‘fit-for-purpose farm vehicles’ after three quad bike deaths in the past week.
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Farmers are being urged to look at how they can reduce the risk of quad bike fatalities after three deaths involving quad bikes in the past week.

In all three fatal incidents  – in Stratford, Methven and Ohauiti – the vehicles rolled, police said.

Lindy Nelson, chair of Safer Farms, the organisation dedicated to designing harm out of farming for good, said three families will have an empty seat at the dinner table this Christmas. 

“We’re pleading with the community and the sector to stop and take stock of their farm vehicles. We’re calling on farmers, their families and their communities to stop this Christmas and ask: ‘How am I controlling the risk of a quad bike fatality on my farm?’”

In the 19 months from January 2022 – July 2023, there were 11 fatalities on farms involving four-wheel motor bikes. WorkSafe data shows the majority of fatalities on farms are vehicle related.

“We need fit-for-purpose farm vehicles that ensure our farmers come home safe every day. We need vehicles that allow our farmers to fail safely. If we put the same amount of energy into farm vehicles that we do into developing state-of-art safety features in our road vehicles, we can save some lives.”

Earlier this year, Safer Farms launched the Half Arsed Stops Here campaign. The Farm Without Harm strategy is a new way of designing risk out of the system underpinned by the vision “everyday farming people protect one another from preventable harm”.

“We have an action plan in place to work together to solve complexities of harm on farm, and there has been so much work done around preventable vehicle harm. But lives are still being lost, families devastated. Our farming community is hurting. It is in our DNA to protect one another – this Christmas we must make that happen,” Nelson said.

Safer Farms is calling on all farmers to stop and discuss:

• Whether this could happen to you

• What would it mean to your family?

• ONE action you can take to reduce the risk of a quad bike accident happening on your farm or with your people.

Resources and support materials are available at https://www.saferfarms.co.nz/manageyourrisks

In Focus: Why half-arsed on-farm safety won’t cut it

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