12 Mar 2021

Few takers for safety subsidy

From Country Life, 9:07 pm on 12 March 2021
Quad bike with crush protection

Quad bike with crush protection Photo: supplied ACC

Of the 35,000 farmers and businesses eligible to access a subsidy for crush protection devices for quad bikes, only 270 have taken it up.

ACC injury prevention manager Virginia Burton-Konia says agriculture is a high risk area and quad bikes create significant costs to the scheme and therefore significant injuries for farm workers.

She says it's not just farmers, but sometimes farm workers, whānau or manuhiri who are on farms.

"Last year ended up with $80 million worth of cost to the scheme focusing on injuries in quad bikes, you know we ended up with 566 I think injuries in 2020."

There were also seven fatalities as a result of quad bike accidents in 2020.

Burton-Konia says ACC is of the view that a lot of quad bike fatalities could be prevented if they had crush prevention devices or roll-over bars fitted.

ACC introduced a subsidy to farmers to provide a small financial incentive for them to put roll-over bars on their quad bikes in 2019, she says.

The subsidy is about $180 per crush protection device and farmers are eligible to apply a subsidy to get two of them fitted, she says.

"There's the opportunity for about 35,000 farmers and businesses to be able to access that, but to date we've had about 270 farmers who have taken up that offer.

"Now that doesn't mean they haven't gone and put those crush protection devices on their quad bikes, but in terms of taking advantage of the subsidy, we certainly are open to having a lot more people take advantage of that subsidy."

There have been 74 workplace quad bike deaths since 2006.