Warning To Farmers Over Quad Bike Safety

Farm workers are being warned of the dangers of riding quad bikes without wearing a helmet and having proper training after a teenager suffered serious head injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive’s head of agriculture Rick Brunt says people are being killed and injured every year on British farms because basic safety recommendations are being ignored.

The call follows an accident in April 2014 when a 17-year-old lay trapped under an overturned quad bike in Shap, Cumbria, for more than an hour before he was discovered.

The farm worker had been told to use the vehicle to reach a large field but was not given any training or a helmet. It overturned on a slope leaving him with a wound that required 17 stitches.

Farm owners JF & M Bland, of Dacre, Penrith, admitted breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs totalling £4,693 by Carlisle Magistrates’ Court.

There are an average of two deaths each year and numerous injuries from accident involved all-terrain vehicles in the UK.

“Vehicle-related accidents are a significant problem in agriculture and one of the biggest killers,” said Mr Brunt. “Only people who are trained and capable should operate all-terrain vehicles like quad bikes.”

HSE inspector Matthew Tinsley added: “This is a reminder to all farmers and farm workers that it just isn’t worth taking unnecessary risk. Training is vital, as is head protection. This is simple, common sense advice that, if followed, can save lives.”

James Pritchard, a personal injury specialist at Macks Solicitors, said: “This really is a serious problem. Farmers often think these rules just don’t apply or don’t see the risk.”

Quad-bike accidents overtook tractor accidents five years ago as the main cause of deaths on Australian farms. Leading Australian QC William “Ross” Ray was killed in May when the vehicle he was riding flipped over. Ten years ago Mr Ray helped manufacturer Honda oppose the introduction of compulsory roll-over bars after a series of deaths involving quad bikes.

British backpacker Holly Raper, now 23, from Lancashire, is suing the owners of a Tasmania dairy farm for AUS$40m (£22m) after she was left quadriplegic following a quad bike accident.

The HSE says the vast majority of fatalities would be prevented by the use of helmets. It also recommends adequate quad bike safety training, regular safety checks and sticking to planned routes when possible.

Children under 13 are forbidden from using all-terrain vehicles at work and children should never be carried as passengers.

If you have been injured in an accident on a farm or in any other workplace, Macks Solicitors has a team of expert lawyers who might be able to help you recover compensation. Call 0800 882 4894 to make an appointment.

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