Honey maker cops $138k for ATV death

by 30 Mar 2010

New Zealand honey maker P.A. and S.C Steens Limited was fined $78,000 after a beekeeper without experience operating an all terrain vehicle was killed when it overturned.

Steen was also ordered to pay $60,000 to the family of the beekeeper who was killed in 2008. He was not wearing a helmet and died of head injuries as a result of the crash.

“This case is especially bad – the beekeeper had no experience whatsoever,” said Department of Labour Workplace Central Regional Manager Brett Murray.

Poor weather conditions had lead to the decision by Steen to send out the beekeeper in the ATV instead of the 4WD.

“The lesson from this case is that farmers and other employers who use ATVs must ensure that their employees wear an approved ATV helmet and are properly trained in ATV use,” said Murray.

Six people died in ATV accidents in the 2008/2009 financial year in NZ, with four the year prior, according to the NZ Department of Labour. The beekeeper was the fourth death this year.

The country’s advice on safe handling of ATVs can be found here: www.osh.dol.govt.nz/order/catalogue/23.shtml