“It’s been a while since we had a coordinated ATV safety programme like this and it’s most welcome,” says Donald Aubrey, Federated Farmers Vice-President and Chair of the Agricultural Health and Safety Council, who was represented at the launch, by Stew Wadey, Federated Farmers Waikato provincial president.
“The lesson we’ve learnt is that safety education is not a one-off exercise, due to the natural turnover of farm workers. It needs to be on-going just like it is with road safety.
“Like with road safety we see it as education and training led. Prosecution, the ultimate DoL sanction, is like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted. This is about preventing accidents occurring in the first place.
“Federated Farmers, the Agricultural Health and Safety Council and FarmSafe are all fully behind the DoL on this and genuinely commend the Department for its efforts.
“ATV’s have become the farmer’s ‘Swiss Army knife’, being horse, trail bike and light tractor all in one. This multi-use nature of ATV’s can see them pushed beyond their design limits.
“Yet, we must ensure that recreational and tourism operators heed these messages as well. While ATV’s are farm implements, a majority of ATV accidents aren’t farm work related.
“The campaign has four major points. First, users must be trained and experienced in an ATV's use. Second, the right vehicle must be chosen for the right job – it’s about knowing limits. Third, helmets are a life-saver and fourthly, children should not ride adult ATV’s.
“These are consistent messages carried in the Quad Bike Safety Guide, which was developed by ACC and endorsed by the Agricultural Health and Safety Council.
“On top of this, Federated Farmers is on the lookout for new initiatives. We’ve started this by raising the profile of Personal Locator Beacons for those working in remote locations.
“We’re also looking at taking to the DoL, a proposal to trial rollover warning systems developed by an American company that fits with our type of typography. Such a system could overcome a loss of balance revealed in an Otago University study, when riding over rough terrain.
“Education, training and technology could help cut injuries and fatalities associated with ATV’s,” Mr Aubrey concluded.