Quad Bike Safety For Farmers:
BJP’s quad bike safety tips for the farming community.
BJP Insurance has produced this agricultural vehicle safety guide to help you safely use agricultural vehicles like ATVs. This easy-to-read guide will arm you with the knowledge and tools you need to keep yourself and your colleagues safe on the road (and off it).
Quad bikes are a common sight on farms and small holdings. They’re invaluable tools that used for everything from getting around the farm to plowing, harvesting, and moving livestock. However, quad bikes can be very dangerous – incidents involving transport and machinery are consistently the highest cause of fatal injury in the agriculture industry.
The importance of Training AV drivers
Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 anyone using a quad bike for work purposes needs to complete appropriate training. This also covers use of any agricultural machinery required to complete a task where a formal license is not applicable, including tractors, quad bikes and other ATVs.
Without stating the obvious, the best way to avoid injury is to learn how to drive safely and ensure that all of your workers are trained too.
LANTRA provides a wide variety of accredited training providers across the country. Training courses are normally on-site, and take on average 1-2 days.
Most colleges that offer an agricultural based course will also offer training courses as well. Again, these are also on-site and take on average 1-2 days.
Another option is to use The European ATV Safety Institute (quadsafety.org). They offer free or discounted training to anyone purchasing a new or used ATV from an authorised UK dealer. This is a great opportunity to attend an HSE recognised training course.
Safety equipment – starting with a helmet!
Here are some tips on how to stay safe when using a quad bike:
Wear proper protective gear while riding your quad bike. When you’re busy or need to get across the farm quickly to attend to something urgently, it can be tempting to simply jump on the quad and ride. But the statistics show that you really do need to use protective gear whenever possible. This includes a helmet, goggles or glasses with side protection, a neck brace (if available), and gloves made of leather or other durable material that covers your hands completely.
In terms of the bike itself there are a number of things to think about.
Ensure that anyone who’s using the quad has seen and understood the manufacturer’s safety instructions. It might sound like overkill, but don’t just assume a rider will know everything about the bike. They may know how to start and ride it, but are they aware of maximum carry / tow loads – particularly with regards to unbraked equipment? Make sure that all safety notices / labels are clearly visible and that operators perform a basic safety check before riding.
If you need to fit any accessories to the quad for your work, ensure that they are same manufacturer / approved for use with the particular make and model that you have.
Make sure you have the right tires for your vehicle; if they aren’t well-suited for off-road driving conditions then you run the risk of slipping out of control or having an accident due to poor traction on rough terrain. Many quads come fitted with either road tyres that are fine on both wet and dry road surfaces but not suited to off road terrain, which is where you’re likely to be at times on a farm. It’s also worth checking that the tyres you have fitted are approved for use on public roads – many don’t.
‘Universal’ tyres are great for use on forest roads and dry gravel – they are ideal for use with rear wheel drive quads where the terrain isn’t too challenging.
For most farm environments, you will need a dedicated off-road tyre. With a high tread pattern designed for maximum off road grip and fast mud clearing, they are usually 6 or 8 ply, making them incredibly durable.
Beyond the rider and vehicle itself, it’s worth assessing the terrain where you ride. Make sure there are no objects near where you’ll be riding – look out for power lines, as well as the obvious hazards like tress and branches. It’s also worth knowing how steep the terrain is and whether the quad can safely be used on steep escarpments.
To conclude, the use of quad bikes as agricultural vehicles has become a common trend across the UK. Whether you are an employer using quad bikes to mobilise workers or farming directly with your own machinery, it is imperative that you are aware of the risks associated with operating high powered machines. While they may seem at times to be a simple solution to get work done quicker, when safety is not just priority but policy, Quad bikes will continue to provide many benefits for years to come.