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30th Nov 2021

Farmers will have to undergo mandatory training to use quad bikes for work

Dave Hanratty

Farmers quad bikes mandatory training

The measure won’t come into effect for a while, though…

Farmers will be required to undergo mandatory training in order to operate quad bikes on their respective farms, in accordance with new Government measures.

Minister for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English has signed the Statutory Instrument which introduces an obligation on users of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to engage in mandatory training prior to use.

Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) will also be required when using such vehicles for work-related purposes.

English pointed to a rise in the number of ATV-related farming accidents over a 10-year period between 2009 and 2018, noting that “serious safety concerns” had emerged as a result.

“The overall objective of these amending regulations is to reduce the level of death and serious injury associated with ATVs in the workplace by providing specific legal requirements for the wearing of head protection and for operators of ATVs to undergo professional training,” said English.

Tractors, ATVs and other vehicles are said to represent 30% of workplace fatalities in the Irish agriculture sector, with ATV-related fatalities in particular showing a “significant” increase in recent years; with 11 fatalities directly linked to their operation.

Subsequent investigations into the cause of these deaths by the Health and Safety Authority illustrated a lack of operational training and head protection.

“The introduction of mandatory training and use of PPE for using ATVs was a recommendation of the Farm Safety Task Force and I am pleased to bring this legislation into effect,” said English.

The new measures, however, will not come into effect until 20 November, 2023, with the two-year lead-in period set to allow everyone involved – users, suppliers and retailers – enough time to ensure that all necessary measures are in place for compliance.

“ATVs are important tools on many farms. However, they can be dangerous, and the 11 fatalities recorded by the HSA are a stark reminder of that fact,” added Martin Heydon, Minister of State with responsibility for Farm Safety at the Department of Agriculture.

“It is possible to reduce the risks associated with the operation of ATVs and that starts with appropriate head protection and training. I welcome the work of my colleague Minister English to introduce this legislation as it is another important step to drive down the unacceptably high number of fatalities on Irish farms.

“I look forward to working closely with Minister English over the next while to help farmers who use ATVs prepare for the new requirements, making their farms safer places.”

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