Friday, 21 May 2021 11:55

Is your farm hack safe?

Written by  Mark Daniel
Farmers or landowners could be responsible – under the Health and Safety at Work Act – if an employee is injured by a faulty airbag activation. Farmers or landowners could be responsible – under the Health and Safety at Work Act – if an employee is injured by a faulty airbag activation.

While the Takata Airbag recall issue is well known, possibly affecting 100 million vehicles globally, closer to home, unregistered vehicles or those ‘retired’ to a farm hack or paddock basher may still have unmodified air bag systems fitted.

Takata’s airbag systems have the potential to cause serious injury if activated, which can happen with any sudden impact above 15km/h. Farmers or landowners could also be responsible – under the Health and Safety at Work Act – if an employee is injured by a faulty airbag activation or where the user was too close to the airbag or had equipment resting on the airbag cover.

This situation arises because unregistered vehicles cannot be traced by distributors when owner data is gathered from Land Transport NZ. Therefore, if there is no registration there are no owner details available.

If you are using an ex on-road vehicle for on-farm or off-road situations, which does not have a current registration, it is important to be aware that there are several active recalls on older vehicles for airbag systems. These may have deteriorated and have the potential to cause severe injury in the case of an activation.

If the vehicle is equipped with safety features such an air bag (SRS) system, these need to be either de-activated or monitored for recalls, to ensure they remain in a safe condition. Airbag systems contain explosives, so get professional advice about disabling or removing these from vehicles, as incorrect handling can also result in injury due to an accidental deployment of the airbag.

Airbag systems are designed to operate in conjunction with the correct use of seat belts — even if the vehicle being used on farm or off-road and does not have any recall issues. An airbag activation, when not using seat belts, could also result in injury if the user is too close to the point of deployment, for example, a child sitting on an adult’s knee when travelling.

Most vehicle manufacturers have links on their websites to look for any outstanding recalls on their vehicles or you can use the link for the LTNZ Safety Recall site at: https://www.vehiclerecallsafety.nzta.govt.nz/

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