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Kids and Machinery Do Not Mix

Kids and Machinery Do Not Mix

Farms are great places to spend the school holidays but visitors must remember that first and foremost they are a workplace, says Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Vice President Charlie Pedersen.

For many New Zealanders, part of that holiday is going out on the farm, but visitors and farmers need to be aware of hazards. Something many people do over the Christmas holidays is drive farm vehicles.

"To the uninitiated, the attractions of the farm can be extremely dangerous. Kids love riding on tractors, farm bikes and horses but often do not have the skills or the strength to control them.

"Federated Farmers supports the Agricultural Health and Safety Council recommendation that children under 15 should not operate a farm sized All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and that carrying passengers should be avoided. If it is necessary to carry a passenger then the person in control of the ATV should be an experienced adult and extra care should be taken to counter the extra risks involved.

"Farmers are strongly encouraged to ensure all riders wear protective equipment, particularly a helmet during any recreational riding of ATVs or horses. The ATV helmets are aimed at reducing deaths and head injuries from ATV accidents, which account for a third of accidental deaths on farms. Helmets specifically designed for off-road farm bikes are available.

"It is up to all farm managers to ensure the safety of visitors to their property - especially over the Christmas holiday break. Kids and machinery don't mix," said Mr Pedersen.

The Agricultural Guideline "Safe use of ATVs on New Zealand Farms" contains valuable best practice guidance. Copies are available from OSH, ACC, Federated Farmers and motor cycle distributors.

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