Monday, 19 May 2014

Quad bike helmets

The Labour department will be happy, now they finally have a prosecution for not wearing a helmet on a quad-bike. Very happy, presumably, that the farm worker was fined $15,000.

The worker was warned several times, so I guess its his own fault really. But lest anyone is inclined to get all high & mighty about it, consider the following.

First off, that's a hell of a fine. The maximum fine for drunken driving is $6000, though you might also lose your licence. If you drive recklessly/dangerously and kill someone, the maximum fine is $20,000. Compare that to this man's heinous offences, and you might agree with Kerry Robbins.

Second, guess what would have happened to the worker if his bike only had 2 wheels instead of 4. Nothing. Because actual two-wheeled farmbikes are not on WorksafeNZ's priority list.

Which might make you wonder about the legals, and they are indeed pretty interesting. Bruce Wills, the Feds President says "the law is the law", but I wonder if he knows how this one works.

In this case, what the law says (s10 of the HSE Act) is that if there is a workplace hazard that can't be fully eliminated or isolated, then employers have to take all practicable steps to protect employees from the hazard. So the reason that WorksafeNZ says quadbike helmets are compulsory is that

  • falling off a quadbike and hitting your head is a workplace hazard that can't be eliminated;
  • helmets are a practicable way of protecting against that hazard;
  • therefore not wearing helmets is illegal.

And so, following the exact same logic, workers who need to use stairs or cross the street are also exposed to a head injury hazard, which can't be eliminated. And since helmets are a practicable way of protecting against head injuries, you are hereby obliged to wear a helmet when walking down the street or using stairs.

So its fair to ask why this is all about quad-bikes on farms when such a huge range of risks fall into exactly the same category.


3 comments:

  1. I grew up driving a quadbike checking fences, herding cows, checking mole traps. Having to wear a helmet during all that would have been a nightmare.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I grew up driving a quadbike checking fences, herding cows, checking mole traps. Having to wear a helmet during all that would have been a nightmare.
    http://www.insurancegala.com/quad-bike-insurance/

    ReplyDelete
  3. If you often have an extra rider on your bike, you can buy a storage bag to hold the extra helmet while you're riding solo. Motorcycle safety

    ReplyDelete