Hydralada Towing Safety


Hydralada Company believes safety comes first, and Managing Director Andy Smith has always made this first priority in the design and manufacture of Hydralada elevating work platforms.  Established in 1975, Hydralada Company has adopted a culture of safety and compliance,  and today these machines are used widely in many industries worldwide.

Elevating work platforms are a crucial part of the orchardists’ tool kit.  Hydralada Company, of Hastings, was part of several industry groups that drew up the first safety best practice guidelines for mobile elevating platforms in horticulture .

Andy has worked with local Hawke’s Bay police around the transportation of Hydralada machines which, under law, are not considered trailers and are exempt from road use registration under New Zealand law (refer New Zealand Transport Agency Fact Sheet number 27). Therefore they can be towed behind a vehicle on their own wheels at low speed.

“Safety is as much about thinking about what affect your actions could have on other people, as well as yourself. I really don’t want anyone hurt using Hydralada machines.”

“These self-propelled orchard work platforms are classified as: ‘a motor vehicle normally propelled by mechanical power that is being temporarily towed without use of its own power’.

It is worth noting at this point that this ruling relates specifically to the Hydralada brand of elevating work platform.  

Andrew is urging anyone towing a Hydralada to think of other people when it comes to safety, and to pay strict attention to the provisions made to transport these machines safely.

“When moving your orchard work platform on a public road, it must be attached to the towing vehicle with a manufacturer approved drawbar, and must include an approved safety chain with shackle attached to the towing vehicle. The drawbar must also be attached to the orchard work platform with the manufacturer approved towing pin and safety clip.  These items are available from approved manufacturers of this equipment.  Refer:

Applicable legislation requirements

  • Exemption is limited to towing in daylight hours only.
  • Only manufacturer approved drawbars and securing pins with clips shall be used.
  • Maximum towing speed by law is 40/kph. However, do not exceed manufacturer recommended towing speed if less than 40/kph (Hydralada  maximum 30/ kph).
  • Where the drawbar is not a standard ball hitch coupler, but a ‘tongue’ type (flat drawbar single tongue with a hole in it), the towing vehicle must be equipped with either:
  1. a clevis type towing hitch (double tongue).  The size of the drawbar pin for this type hitch, shall be no less than 70% of the size of the holes in the drawbar hole, also in the towing vehicle drawbar clevis holes. The drawbar pin must also have an approved safety lynch pin or retaining clip pin.
  2. Alternatively, a vertical bolted pin can be used (Category one tractor lower linkage pin 7/8” diameter shank size) with the correct securing lynch pin.

Towing two machines

  •  The Hydralada company conducted extensive testing with the Ministry of Transport in 1980, testing the safe towing of two Hydralada® orchard work platforms.  An exemption (remaining valid) was granted by the Ministry of Transport for orchard work platforms manufactured by Hydralada Company  that do not weigh more than 2,000 kilograms to be towed in pairs, one behind the other, by a motor vehicle, subject to the following conditions:
  • No more than two Hydralada® machines can be towed together (Compact orchard models only weighing no more than 2000 kg).
  • There must be a copy of the Hydralada® Exemption Letter kept in the towing vehicle. Copies of this permission are available to owners from Hydralada Company. Email Hydralada company customer service for a copy. Email request to:
  • Towing of two Hydralada® orchard ladders shall be at a speed not exceeding 30/kph
  • No towing of two Hydralada® machines shall take place in the hours of darkness
  • The towing of two Hydralada® machines is only allowed for farm to farm transport or to a place of repair.

If you are found to be travelling over 30/kph towing two Hydralada® machines, or 40/kph towing one machine, you are automatically deemed to be operating outside of the Hydralada® exemption.  The likely outcome could see you fined for speeding and additionally for no certificate of inspection (WOF) for any vehicle you are towing.

Hydralada Company has plenty of information on its website, and their staff are happy to talk you through any questions you may have, or help you check over your linkages to ensure they are compliant.

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