Friday, 11 December 2020 10:55

Ensure vehicles are safe - WorkSafe

Written by  Staff Reporters
WorkSafe is warning that if a vehicle is unsafe, it should not be driven. WorkSafe is warning that if a vehicle is unsafe, it should not be driven.

WorkSafe is reminding people that if a vehicle’s safety features are compromised, no one should drive it.

 The reminder follows the death of a woman who was ejected from a Utility Task Vehicle (UTV). The UTV’s seatbelt didn’t work and the driver’s door had been removed.

Owners of a beef, sheep and deer farm, N.E. Parkes & Sons Limited, appeared in Nelson District Court on Monday and were fined $275,000 for failing to ensure the farm vehicle was safe for use at the time of the incident was safe for use.

The woman was working as a WOOFer (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) at the time of the incident in exchange for food and accommodation.

In June 2018, she was travelling as a passenger on the UTV when the driver lost control and the vehicle fell 13 metres down a hillside.

The woman was ejected from her seat, and the vehicle eventually came to rest on top of her and she died from crushing injuries.

The woman driving was also thrown from the vehicle and suffered minor injuries.

The driver pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving causing death and was discharged without conviction in August 2018.

A WorkSafe investigation found that one door of the UTV had been removed and both seatbelts and helmets were not being used, contrary to manufacturer and WorkSafe advice.

The investigation also found that one seatbelt was not working, and the driver’s seatbelt warning system was not working.

“The safety of the vehicle had been compromised,” said Danielle Henry, WorkSafe’s area manager.

Henry said that the vehicle’s safety features had not been maintained, yet the business still allowed workers and visitors to use it at the time of the incident.

“These vehicles are used every day on farms right across the country. They have safety features for a reason and maintenance of these is imperative.

“If those features aren’t working as they should and you can’t supply appropriate personal protective equipment, then no one should be driving it.”

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