OSPRI bans quad bikes amidst safety concerns

Thursday, 30 November, 2017

Quad bikes have been banned by primary industries services company OSPRI, due to a recent spate of accidents involving these vehicles.

From the first day of 2018, OSPRI contractors engaged in TBfree program pest control and animal health testing work 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,” said 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.

“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,” said Edge.

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.

“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,” said OSPRI Health and Safety Lead James Knapp.

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,” Knapp said.

OSPRI helps protect and enhance the reputation of New Zealand’s primary industries. It manages the NAIT and TBfree programs.

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