Adventure Tourism Operator fined $120k for Quad Bike Death

25/09/2014 16:21

$120,000 fine over quad bike tour death

24 September 2014

A defunct company which ran quad-bike tours has been fined $120,000 over the 2012 death of an Australian tourist, who died after her quad bike rolled on a public road.

Chelsey Callaghan was part of a ten person quad bike safari run by Riverland Adventures Limited on 11 October 2012. She was discovered lying on Klondyke Road, Tuakau, by another member of the tour. Ms Callaghan had just rounded a corner on the gravel road. Her quad bike was lying on its side and her helmet was found two metres away. She suffered severe head injuries and died 10 days later in hospital.

Riverland Adventures is in liquidation. At its sentencing this morning at the District Court at Manukau the judge accepted the company will not be able to pay the $120,000 fine. Ms Callaghan had no immediate family so there was no reparation order made.

A WorkSafe New Zealand investigation identified numerous safety issues including included inadequate training and a lack of supervision, inappropriate helmets (for use off-road at low speed, not suitable for public roads) and poor maintenance. Other issues included a lack of an emergency plan, including emergency communication and appropriate first aid equipment.

Riverland Adventures was found guilty under sections 16 and 50 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that the hazards associated with use of the quad bike did not harm Ms Callaghan.

WorkSafe’s Chief Inspector Keith Stewart says Chelsey Callaghan’s death was a tragedy, and Riverland Adventures had to be held to account.

“The size of this fine sends a clear message to companies offering these sorts of activities about the duty they have to keep their customers safe.

“As a paying customer, Ms Callaghan had every right to expect that Riverland Adventures was doing everything it could to keep her safe – but it wasn’t. The catalogue of safety failings, from the provision of inadequate helmets to once-over-lightly training and a lack of maintenance, cannot be excused.

“Even though this company is in liquidation and is no longer operating it is important that it was prosecuted and convicted. Chelsey Callaghan deserved nothing less,” says Keith Stewart.