Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Crush protection device could save your life

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THE thought of phoning a worker’s family about a serious farm accident is always in the back of farmer Andrew Hurst’s mind.
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Safer Farms urge farmers to consider crush protection devices to control rollovers.

The thought of phoning a worker’s family about a serious farm accident is always in the back of farmer Andrew Hurst’s mind. 

Hurst farms 2300 hectares of alpine hill country at the foot of Mt Dobson ski field near Fairlie.

He purchased a crush protection device (CPD) for his quad bike more than a decade ago after a chance landing on a matagouri bush saved him from serious injury.

“I bought it and never thought I’d need it, but it has saved me twice. A bull was chasing my dog and flipped my bike over on top of me. It came out of nowhere in a perfectly flat paddock,” Hurst said.

“Then the second time, I flipped in a swamp. I ended up lying face down and I felt it go over me. It was like someone pushing firmly on my back with both hands.

Then I looked up and here’s the bike back on its wheels again.”

Crush protection devices were deemed a personal choice by WorkSafe back in 2014, but a thorough review of the research led them to take a firmer stance. Along with Safer Farms and ACC, they “strongly recommend” the use of professionally designed and manufactured CPDs on the back of quad bikes, alongside training, maintenance, protective gear and careful use.

Farmers are still being crushed under the weight of quad bikes during a rollover, when CPDs could absorb this weight and create a gap between the bike and the ground that could aid survival. 

The recommendation led to a cashback offer on CPDs for farmers, which is provided by ACC.

Safer Farms chair Lindy Nelson supports the initiative and said they’re installing CPDs on the bikes on their Wairarapa farm.

“As a wife, I want to know my husband is going to come back safely. As an employer, I want to know we have done everything we can, practically, to look after the people on our farm,” Nelson said.

There’s increased stress on farmers due to regulations, covid-induced supply chain disruption and labour shortages; 24% of on-farm injuries are caused when farmers are overtired, overworked and under pressure.

“As farmers grapple with all these external stresses, there’s simply never been a more important time to prioritise our on-farm safety,” she said.

“If farmers find themselves in a situation they did not intend to be in, rollover protection could make all the difference.”

ACC offers a $180 (+GST) cashback offer on the Quadbar, Quadbar Flexi and ATV LifeGuard crush protection devices. Farmers can redeem the cashback on two crush protection devices. For more information visit acc.co.nz/cpdcashback

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