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Kids and quads a lethal combination

25 May 2018

A young boy had a lucky escape after he fell from a quad bike and was run over by the equipment being towed behind it. WorkSafe says it is a reminder for farmers and families to ensure they are keeping kids off adult sized quad bikes, as riders or passengers.

Small farming company Greystone Holdings Limited was sentenced today in Wellington District Court after an incident that occurred in July 2016, when a six year old was visiting the 60 acre farm owned by his grandparents during school holidays.

The victim was riding on the back of a quad doing tasks on the farm, when he fell from the quad and was run over by equipment being towed behind it. The quad was being driven by the boy’s uncle who was employed on the property. The victim was taken to hospital by helicopter and had suffered a fracture to his left leg that required multiple surgeries.

WorkSafe Deputy General Manager, Investigations and Specialist Services, Simon Humphries says that whether you own a small holding or a high country station, kids do not belong on adult sized quad bikes, as riders or passengers.

“It might look like fun and a way to keep the kids amused but the risk of death or injury needs to outweigh the entertainment factor. There is little contest between a quad and a child. These are heavy and powerful machines that require the rider’s full attention. A child does not have the physical strength or risk recognition to be an independent passenger, especially on a vehicle that is not designed for carrying extra people.”

WorkSafe’s investigation found that while Greystone was aware of the dangers associated with quad bikes, they still allowed children to ride on the quad on occasion. It also found that Greystone should have directed its workers that only one person was to ride the quad at a time and that children were not to be carried as passengers.

“The dangers associated with quads are very well known. There is considerable guidance available that clearly states that children should not ride on quads. This was a lucky escape and a reminder to other farm owners, especially families on farms, to think about how their kids are interacting with the farm business and how they can be sure to keep them safe”.

WorkSafe has extensive guidance on the use of quad bikes available here.

Notes:

- A fine of $12,000 was imposed.

- Reparation of $15,000 was voluntarily paid into a trust account of the victim, this was made in light of an indication from the court.

- Greystone Holdings Limited was charged under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

o Being a PCBU, failed to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of other persons, was not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking, and that failure exposed individuals to a risk of death or serious injury.

- The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $1,500,000.

ENDS

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