Ian & Sandra Matthews talk near misses with quad bikes on the farm - they won a free ATVLifeGuard crush protection device for sharing their story with Rural Exchange & WorkSafe.

Sheep and beef farmer Ian Matthews says he was fortunate to walk away uninjured after his quad bike rolled – today, he and wife Sandra have a crush protection device (CPD) fitted.

Farm vehicles, particularly bikes and tractors, handling stock and fatigue are all among risks Ian and  Sandra have identified and put measures in place to manage on their 536 Ha (500 effective) property near Gisborne.  

“It was some years ago,” says Ian. “I was driving down a steep place I shouldn’t have gone and I rolled. I wasn’t injured but I was very lucky not to be.

“Sandra is our health and safety manager and a very strong advocate for safe working practices. She was very keen to get roll over protection for our farm bike and we’re pleased it is now in place.

“We had one on a bike many years ago and researched bike manufacturer articles and they were not overly keen on them. We talked it over each time we upgraded our bike and each time we were discouraged.  We had discussions, read literature and recently decided we would install one – better to be safe than sorry if there was an accident.”

Wearing helmets on farm bikes and using seatbelts in vehicles, where they are fitted, are hard and fast rules on the farm, says Ian.

 “Some people get around their farms without helmets or seatbelts, but my experience shows accidents can happen easily. They think they are all right in a side by side, but you should always use a helmet and seatbelt too.

 “A casual staff member who worked here had never had to wear a helmet when working on a farm but every time she needed to get on a farm bike, she went and got her helmet, without being reminded – which was great.”

History is important to the Matthews, who have farmed together for 28 years. The land has been farmed by Ian’s family for over 110 years.

Ian and Sandra won a CPD in a competition run by WorkSafe New Zealand and the Rural Exchange (REX) radio show.