Helmets and training will be mandatory for those using quad bikes for work, in a bid to reduce the number of serious injuries and fatalities associated with the all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).
Those using ATVs for work purposes must wear headgear and undergo mandatory training under a statutory instrument signed by Minister for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English on Tuesday.
The new measures will come into force on November 20th, 2023.
“The two-year lead-in period in relation to the enforcement of these requirements is to allow everyone involved - users, suppliers and retailers – enough time to ensure that all of the necessary measures will be in place for compliance,” Mr English said.
The introduction of mandatory training and personal protective equipment (PPE) was one of the recommendations of the Farm Safety Task Force, deemed necessary to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities from the use of ATVs, particularly on farms.
“In recent years, there has been a number of accidents in farming and other areas of work involving the use of ATVs. The number and severity of these incidents has given rise to serious safety concerns, particularly across the farming community,” Mr English said.
“Over a ten-year period, tractors, ATVs and other vehicles represent 30 per cent of workplace fatalities in the agriculture sector, with ATV fatalities showing a significant increase in recent years, with 11 fatalities attributed to their operation.
“Investigations into the causes of these accidents by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) have shown that many cases are caused by the lack of training and head protection."
It is another important step to drive down the unacceptably high number of fatalities on Irish farms
Martin Heydon, Minister of State with responsibility for Farm Safety at the Department of Agriculture, welcomed the new regulation.
“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,” he said.
“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.”