Coronial report on quad bike deaths – industry forum to be convened
Whangarei Coroner Brandt Shortland has today released findings into five workplace quad bike deaths.
As part of his concurrent inquests in April this year into the five deaths, Coroner Shortland invited submissions on quad bike issues from a series of experts and involved parties, and his findings include his conclusions and recommendations (see summary below).
“These findings and recommendations give weight, in the Ministry’s view, to the need to continue focusing on reducing the death and injury toll associated with quad bike use in agricultural settings,” General Manager Health and Safety Operation Ona de Rooy said.
On average five people are killed and 850 are injured on quad bikes on farms every year.
“The Ministry supports the intent of Coroner Shorthand’s recommendations, although not all recommendations are within the Ministry’s ability to implement, the breadth and significance of them must not be lost to the sector.
“In the New Year the Ministry will be calling together all the parties involved with quad bikes – manufacturers, farming leaders, community leaders, trainers and the regulator – to work through how these recommendations could be implemented. The forum will also consider what other actions could be taken to reduce the deaths and injuries from inappropriate quad bike use.
“Coroner Shortland says a farmer’s safety is compromised when a quad bike is used beyond its capability and outside the strict safety guidelines and he endorses the Ministry’s quad bike harm reduction programme’s key steps for safe use of the machines,” Ms de Rooy said.
“The Ministry fully agrees with his position that the rural sector and communities associated with farming should stand up and take leadership and ownership of health and safety issues including quad bikes without the threat of enforcement and prosecution from the regulator.”
Summary of recommendations from Coroner Shortland
- Endorses the Ministry’s quad bike programme and related projects.
- That the term ATV should not be used.
- A helmet should be used at all times when a quad bike is in use.
- Continuation of training and education with the tertiary sector in relation to NZQA to review appropriate levels of training funding
- Consideration should be given to supporting a multi-disciplinary taskforce to specifically research and advise on ROPS (roll over protection devices); endorses closer relationships with Australia to look to their developments at Federal and State level on ROPS; further consideration should be given to a specialist unit for quad bikes, tractors and farm machinery (perhaps as a joint venture between industry leaders and the New Zealand Government).
- To have regular testing of after-market attachments.
- To give thought to a better message about quad bike maintenance.
- Consider having quad bikes licensed or warranted.
- Consider fitting a warning signal or alarm when a quad bike is in reverse or on a slope and in danger of tipping.