28 Nov 2017

Agency bans quad bikes after worker death

2:54 pm on 28 November 2017

A government pest-control agency is banning its workers from using quad bikes because of the safety risk.

Quad bike, quad bikes

Photo: 123RF

On average, quad bikes are involved in over a quarter of all work-related farm deaths, with five quad bike deaths last year.

OSPRI, which runs the TB-free programme, manages possum control and pest management over 5.5m hectares of New Zealand each year.

Earlier this year an OSPRI worker was killed in a quad bike accident and chief executive Michelle Edge said that was behind the decision to ban quad bikes.

"In our case we needed to exercise some support for our contractors and make sure that those risks were mitigated because we're dealing with rough terrain [and] unusual country," she said.

"While all of the operators are very skilled and we make sure that they're trained, there's only a certain amount of things you can do with a vehicle itself [to make it safer.]"

The new policy followed discussion with contractors, Ms Edge said.

"We were able to identify some alternatives that we can employ, like fully fledged 4WD vehicles and other alternatives such as going on foot in certain areas rather than using quad bikes."

The cost of banning quad bikes and using more expensive options, such as 4WD vehicles, had been looked at during the consultation, she said.

"What we did decide in looking at those costs and working with contracors is that they weren't insurmountable to achieveing the operations we required."

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