Using your Head?

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) like quads and utility vehicles, have made a huge contribution to modern farming; making everyday tasks simpler, safer and quicker.

However, over the past few months we have seen increased discussions online and in print about their safety. From the beginning of work year 2017, until September 2020 there have been 39 fatalities as a result of workplace transport incidents, accounting for just over a third of all fatalities during this period.

Many of these were ATV/quad bike related and often the tragic outcome could have been prevented if the operator had worn head protection. It is important for us to remind ourselves that quads bikes themselves are not dangerous – it’s the way they’re handled so why aren’t farmers using their heads when riding ATVs? 

This is exactly what our friends at the University of Aberdeen, School of Psychology are looking to explore in their latest online survey study and we need your help!

The study is an online survey which should take no longer than 20 to 30mins to complete. It includes questions about ATV regulations, your thoughts on ATV safety and the use of PPE such as helmets.

The survey is anonymous and will not ask you for any potentially identifying information (such as your name). Farmers, farm worker and contractors across the UK and Ireland are invited to take part – you just need to be aged 18 or over and have used a sit astride ATV at some point for farming purposes.

For more information CLICK HERE 

According to the HSE’s agriculture policy sector team: “There is no specific instruction within the law about the wearing of helmets. Health and safety legislation is designed to be aspirational, encouraging duty holders to achieve compliance but in a way that is suitable for them and their business.
So, whilst the legislation is not prescriptive, when it is properly applied conclusions can be drawn about the level of risk and adequate control measures. The wearing of helmets on quad bikes is an example of this.”

“HSE considers that wearing a helmet whilst operating an ATV is a legal requirement and there are two pieces of legislation which give rise to this;

1. Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations requires all employers to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of his employees and of persons not in his employment to which they are exposed whilst at work or in connection with his undertaking.
HSE Agriculture Information Sheet No. 33 lists a number of hazards which are likely to come from operating a quad bike including; being thrown from the vehicle, collisions with structures, being trapped/asphyxiated by an overturned machine and pedestrians being struck by or run over by an ATV. The information sheet also highlights that a high number of fatalities occur as a result of the operator failing to wear a helmet and that many of these deaths could have been prevented. This information alone should be sufficient to provoke operators into undertaking a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. CLICK HERE

2. Regulation 4(1) of The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 requires that every employer provides suitable personal protective equipment to employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health and safety while at work. This regulation also applies to the self-employed.

It therefore makes sense that the hazards of operating a quad bike along with the legal requirements to risk assess and provide PPE mean that the only reasonable conclusion would be that helmets are a requirement, particularly on a quad bike where there is no cab to offer protection.

If you are looking for help regarding ATV safety, the European ATV Safety Institute (EASI) is a not for profit organisation, which is sponsored by the six leading ATV manufacturers and provides free, or highly subsidised training for ATV drivers with all purchases of an ATV or Pioneer utility vehicles as standard. EASI claim that most ATV accidents are caused by overturning, and that most injuries are due to impact with the ground or being struck by the vehicle. The EASI courses take up to five hours and aim to improve operator skills, safety levels and awareness of the capabilities of the vehicles.

For more information on working with ATVs visit our advice page CLICK HERE

stephanie_berkeley_zl4u2oa9Using your Head?