Quad bike ban addresses safety concerns
Recent quad bike accidents causing serious injuries and expensive helicopter evacuations reinforce the need for a prohibition on the use of quad bikes by animal health services company OSPRI.
From the first day of 2018, OSPRI contractors will be encouraged to opt for less dangerous forms of transport, as they will not be permitted to operate or ride on a quad bike.
“We want our workers to go home safely every day, and our focus is on reducing the potential for death or serious injury,” says OSPRI Chief Executive Michelle Edge.
Quad bikes were involved in over a quarter of all work-related farm deaths in recent years, with five quad deaths in 2016. Earlier this year an OSPRI worker was killed in a quad bike accident while working on a farm. “For us, that’s one too many,” said Ms Edge.
“We had a long-term harm-reduction strategy in place that was recognised as industry-leading, and our measures indicated that quad-bike incidents and fleet had been steadily decreasing. Yet we were not able to change the fundamental design of the quad, monitor its use, or provide adequate protection for our worker following an accidental loss of control.”
In its work to eradicate TB from New Zealand’s wildlife and farmed animals, OSPRI manages possum control and pest management work over 5.5 million hectares of New Zealand each year, undertakes almost 3.5 million TB tests and has eradicated TB from possums across 1.83 million hectares since 2011.
OSPRI Health and Safety Lead James Knapp says, “Each year our people spend more than 300,000 hours in the field, often in remote and difficult terrain. Getting that work done safely and efficiently is important to us, so providing for an informed decision was a major undertaking.”
OSPRI engaged service providers, reviewed all available research and worked in a consultative process to introduce these changes and enable time for those affected to adapt. “We recognise the usefulness of quad bikes, and understand the risk involved in change with any vehicle. But opting for safer alternatives to quad bikes was the only way to minimise this risk,” Mr Knapp said.
OSPRI helps protect and enhance the reputation of New Zealand’s primary industries. It manages the NAIT and TBfree programmes.
OSPRI Corporate Communications Manager
027 705 4995