Safety alert published

Tuesday 15 Oct 2019

Industries and topics

Agriculture
Plant hazards

Background

A three year old child was fatally injured when the vehicle they were a passenger on overturned, ejecting the driver and child.

Safety issues

Vehicles used on farms can pose serious risks to adults and children.

Examples of vehicles in use on farms can include quad bikes and side by side utility vehicles.

Employers and self-employed persons are required to control the risk associated with vehicles, including the risk of:

  • vehicles overturning
  • operators or passengers being ejected
  • operators or passengers being struck or crushed by falling objects
  • vehicles colliding with people or other vehicles.

Recommended ways to control risks

In order to control the risks associated with vehicles used on farms, employers and self-employed persons should:

  • consider changing the way a job is done, such as using another type of vehicle to complete tasks on the farm
  • fit an operator protective device that is appropriate to the vehicle, such as, rollover or crush protection devices on quad bikes, and rollover or crush protection devices and seatbelts on side by side utility vehicles
  • not allow untrained or inexperienced persons to operate the vehicle, particularly in unfamiliar or high risk terrain or for unfamiliar tasks
  • not allowing passengers on single-operator vehicles
  • ensure the load carrying limits specified by the manufacturer are complied with
  • ensure operators and passengers utilise personal protective equipment, for example, wearing an approved helmet.

Legal duties

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, employers must, so far as reasonably practicable, provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of employees. This includes identifying risks to health or safety in relation to the use of vehicles on farms and eliminating or reducing those risks, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Employers must, so far as is reasonably practicable, provide or maintain plant or systems of work that are safe and without risks to health.

Employers must provide employees with the necessary information, instruction, training or supervision to enable them to do their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health.

Employers must also ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that people other than employees are not exposed to risks to their health or safety arising from the employer's conduct.

Self-employed persons must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that persons are not exposed to risks to their health and safety arising from the conduct of the undertaking of the self-employed persons

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017, employers must, so far as is reasonably practicable, eliminate specific risks associated with powered mobile plant or if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate the risks, reduce them so far as is reasonably practicable.

The employer is also required to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that an appropriate combination of operator protective devices is provided, maintained and used to reduce these risks, so far as is reasonably practicable.

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