Worksafe changes position on quad bike roll cages

Worksafe has announced a new position on the use of roll cages on quad bikes, saying they strongly recommend they be used.

The issue is back under the spotlight after a Wellington coroner called for safety features to be made mandatory on quad bikes, which are common on New Zealand farms. 

She made the comments as part of her findings into the death of a  Westport farmworker, Kaye Blance.

She also recommended that a working party review work undertaken by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) on the issue of quad bike safety.

Under Worksafe's new policy it said it believes crush protection devices (CPDs) are likely to prevent serious and fatal crush injuries and it strongly recommended they are installed on all quad bikes used for work. 

Between January 2000 and October 2017 81 people have died in quad bike crashes.
Between January 2000 and October 2017 81 people have died in quad bike crashes. Photo credit: Westpac Rescue Helicopter

It also indicated they may be made mandatory in future.

"We recommend people do this now. In future we are likely to require CPDs and will then enforce compliance if necessary," said Worksafe's Paula Knaap.

Worksafe said between January 2000 and October 2017, 315 people died in work-related incidents in the agriculture sector. 

Of these 81 (25.7 percent) were fatalities involving quad bikes. 

At least 73 (90 percent) of the quad-related fatalities occurred when the victim was trapped by the vehicle. 

"Quad bike rollover accidents show they can happen on almost any part of the property - to experienced and inexperienced riders," said Knaap.

She said the recommendation should not be seen as a stand-alone solution. 

"It is very much the final protection for the operator, and should be preceded by good vehicle selection, operator competence and vehicle maintenance."

She said WorkSafe was working with industry and regulatory partners to provide a suite of actions.