Farmers are being warned not to underestimate the dangers of quad bike use.
Farmers and Mercantile Insurance Brokers (FMIB), said farmers must take extra care to ensure the safe use of quad bikes, as health and safety figures reveal there have been 26 all-terrain vehicle (ATV)- related deaths since 2010.
“Complacency is farm safety’s worst enemy and is a particular concern in relation to ATVs which, because of their versatility and ease of use, will often be deployed on a daily basis for a variety of farming-related tasks,” said Matt McWhirter from FMIB.
“While use of ATVs will invariably take place without incident, hundreds of accidents occur every year. Our brains are good at switching to autopilot, but the short, narrow wheelbase of ATVs can make them susceptible to rolling and calls for a focused mind at all times.”
He said it was a legal requirement to provide adequate training for employees who use ATVs.
“This should extend to family members, including children over the age of 13, who anecdotal evidence suggests are regular ATV users and who are all too frequently forgotten about when it comes to health and safety compliance,” added Mr McWhirter.
He also reminded farmers that it is illegal for children under the age of 13 to ride an ATV for work or to ride on it as a passenger, and that all ATVs must be fully insured under a farmer’s agricultural vehicles policy.
“It must be remembered, however, that illegal breaches of health and safety legislation, and incidents that have compromised safety can lead to insurance cover being void,” Mr McWhirter added.
“What’s more, such incidents can result in prosecution and severe fines.”
He said a Devon farming partnership was fined £28,333 and ordered to pay costs of £5,254 last year after a nine-year-old boy, who was a passenger on an ATV being driven by a 13-year-old, suffered a serious leg injury.