A systems analysis of quadbike loss of control events on New Zealand farms : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Management Systems and Ergonomics at Massey University, Palmerston North
There are an estimated 70,000 quadbikes (also called All-Terrain Vehicles, four-wheelers or ATV) in use within the farming community in New Zealand, and these have been linked to approximately seven deaths per year since 1997. ACC paid compensation in excess of $3.6 million on new and on-going quadbike-related claims in 2003-4, and the Department of Labour (OSH) have identified quadbike use as their single greatest area of concern in farm safety.
The main aims of this series of studies were to: establish the scale and cost of LCE involving quadbikes as well as their context of use on New Zealand farms, develop an investigative methodology suitable for off-road application, identify risk factors for LCE and their interactions, and generate potential interventions.
The research comprised a literature review and three studies. The first was an epidemiological analysis of ACC claims data for serious quadbike-related injuries in the year to July 2001, identified individually through the free narrative text in the ACC database. The second study explored the context of farm quadbike use through data gathering with multiple industry sources including users at the 55 farms visited for the third study. This final phase consisted of investigations at the scenes of 156 LCE. Data on the event sequences and contributory factors were captured and analysed using a modified event sequence chart developed from established methods in the ergonomics, forensics psychology and aviation literature. Environmental context-dependent cues and scale models of quadbikes and implements were used to assist the subjects recall event details. An interactive quadbike LCE model incorporating information processing features was developed as a further analysis tool.
Potential interventions were identified acting at various system levels. These included changes in: farm management, work organisation, regulation, vehicle conceptualisation, detailed quadbike design and modification, rider awareness and training.