Using the right vehicle could have prevented ATV accident
11 August 2005
A worker at a Blenheim vineyard could have avoided serious injuries had the correct vehicle been used for the job.
The worker was driving an all terrain vehicle (ATV) with a heavily loaded trailer and carrying a passenger when the accident occurred.
The contractor who employed the worker was sentenced at Blenheim District Court for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of workers operating the ATV. He was fined $4,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $1,500 to the injured worker.
The two workers were hired to clear rocks at the vineyard and drop them in a river. One worker drove the ATV with a trailer attached, while the other travelled as a passenger. While driving down to the river, the driver lost control of the ATV. The weight of the load caused the ATV and trailer to jack-knife, pushing them over a bank and seriously injuring the driver.
The Department of Labour's National Health and Safety Operations Manager,
Mike Cosman, says inadequate planning of the job meant the workers were
using inappropriate equipment.
"Instead of shifting rocks with an ATV and trailer, the workers could have used a tractor and trailer, or a larger four wheel drive vehicle with proper seating and roll-over protection," says Mr Cosman.
"The ATV was unsuitable because it is not designed to carry passengers
and has a very limited towing capacity" says Mr Cosman. "The contractor
was also operating outside of the industry agreed guidelines by allowing
an untrained driver to operate the ATV. Furthermore, the men had no way
of knowing the weight of the stones they were carrying and given the terrain
there was a real risk of the load moving and the ATV becoming unstable."