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ATV Accident Victim Had Not Ridden One Before

Published 01 May 2010

Farmers who require employees to use all terrain vehicles (ATVs) are legally required to ensure that employees are well trained in their use, the Department of Labour says after sentencing in a prosecution over an ATV fatality.
A honey production company was fined $78,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $60,000 to the family of an employee killed when the ATV he was riding - without previous ATV experience and without a helmet - overturned.
The employee was given a basic demonstration in use of an ATV at the company's base before going to the farm, where the farm owner gave him a further demonstration on the farm ATV that he was to be riding. The ATV was later found overturned on the road near the entrance to the farm owner's driveway, and the employee, who had been riding without a helmet, died in hospital from the head injuries he received. No one saw the accident.
Employers have an obligation to ensure employees are adequately supervised and instructed in their safe use.
Obviously an approved ATV helmet is a prerequisite to safe use of these vehicles, given that they are the best way to prevent serious head injuries in the event of an accident.
The lesson from this case is that farmers who use ATVs must ensure that their employees wear an approved ATV helmet and are properly trained in ATV use.