Wear helmets on quad bikes – they’re part of the job

Press Release: 16 December 2014

A farming couple from Canvastown near Blenheim have been fined $20,000 each for offences involving the use of quad bikes on the farm where they have a share-milking partnership.

There were multiple sightings, dating back to 2012, of Phillip Andrew Jones and Maria Anna Carlson riding quads without helmets and in some cases Ms Carlson had small children with her on the quad.

Ms Carlson was witnessed twice riding her quad without a helmet after a prohibition notice had been issued and the second time she had two young children with her on the bike.

The fines were imposed on the pair by Judge Tony Zohrab in the Blenheim District Court today. Both were charged under the Health and Safety in Employment Act – Mr Jones with failing to take all practicable steps to ensure no other person was harmed at work while riding a quad bike and Ms Carlson with failing to take all practicable steps to ensure her own safety by wearing a helmet, and the safety of others by not carrying her children on a quad bike.

Mr Jones refused to talk to WorkSafe New Zealand during the investigation and Ms Carlson admitted, despite the partnership owning helmets, that she didn’t wear a helmet because ‘it becomes just a little bit of a hassle’.

“WorkSafe warned the couple, then issued a prohibition notice which was ignored,” says Francois Barton, WorkSafe New Zealand’s Manager of National Programmes.

“This behaviour does not represent the sensible approach taken by most farmers to quad safety, but as a regulator, we could not ignore this wilful refusal to meet their legal obligations.”

Quad bikes pose a serious risk on farms – on average five people are killed and 850 are injured every year. The best way to stay safe on a quad bike is to always wear a helmet, never let kids ride adult quad bikes, choose the right vehicle for the job and get proper training. The vast majority of quad bikes used on New Zealand farms are designed for one rider and the manufacturers say they should not be used to carry passengers.

More information on quad bike safety can be found on our website

Reducing the serious injury and fatality toll in agriculture is a top priority for WorkSafe New Zealand. It is launching a new farm safety programme - Safer Farms - in February 2015. Safer Farms is a six year programme (jointly funded by WorkSafe and ACC) that aims to tackle the underlying barriers to improving farm safety.

18 December 2014
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