A Martinborough vineyard has been fined tens of thousands of dollars in relation to an incident in which a contract worker broke his arm falling off a quad bike in May last year. In addition to the $36,000 fine, the Craggy Range vineyard has been ordered to pay $6,500 in reparations to the worker.
The contract worker was riding at the rear of the quad bike as a passenger. When the vehicle moved forwards, he fell under the wheel of a trailer that it was towing behind, and broke his arm.
“The circumstances of this accident directly contravene a critical piece of advice provided by the quad bike manufacturer and by the Ministry’s quad bike harm reduction programme – these machines are not designed to carry passengers,” Dave Hulston, a Ministry of Buisness, Innovation and Employment spokesperson, said. He noted that both the owner’s manual and the mudguard notice warned never to carry passengers.
“It is so easy to do the right thing to protect workers on quad bikes. Manufacturers and the Ministry provide simple, easily accessible advice and there are too many avoidable accidents because that advice is not being heeded,” Hulston added.
Every year in New Zealand, 850 people are injured riding quad bikes on farms, and five die. The bikes are involved in more than a quarter of all work-related farm deaths.
The company pleaded guilty to the charge laid under section 18 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act, which was brought by the Health and Safety Group of the Ministry.
More information on the Ministry’s quad bike harm reduction programme can be found here.