A farmer was prosecuted for failing to provide adequate training in the safe use of All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) following an accident to an employee and for failing to comply with a previously issued Improvement Notice.
A 23-year old farm employee had been operating an ATV, when it collided with a hedge in a field whilst being used to round up cattle. No training or helmet (PPE) had been provided.
The investigation revealed that although the employee had used the ATV previously, she had not received any training in its safe operation. At the time of the accident she was not wearing a safety helmet, although one was available. It also appeared that other employees had operated the ATV without training and that the PPE provided was not being used.
The farmer had received an Improvement Notice approx three years earlier on ATV training. At that time he had complied with the notice but some of the staff had since left and he had failed to train their replacements.
The farmer was prosecuted under regulation 9 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) for allowing employees to ride the ATV without adequate training. He pleaded guilty and was fined.
Employers and users need to appreciate the dangers associated with ATVs. The lessons to be learnt from this case are to ensure that people using such machines have been properly trained, that they are capable of remaining in control of the bike at all times, that any tasks undertaken are within their capacity and that proper supervision is exercised.
Use of personal protective equipment, especially head protection is essential, as is following the manufacturer’s safety instructions, which advise specific age limits for different types of machine.