A contracting company was prosecuted following a serious accident to an employee who sustained back injuries when his quad bike overturned on hilly ground. The employee was ascending a slope when the quad bike overturned backwards and fell on top of him before rolling down the slope. The employee had no formal training nor was he wearing a helmet. He had merely been shown the basic controls and left to his own devices. The quad bike had defective brakes and steering, no hand brake and had been given only minimal maintenance. The employee's lower back vertebrae fractured as a result of the accident.
The company was prosecuted under section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for failing to provide a safe system of work including the provision of suitable personal protective equipment for use at work. They pleaded guilty to the charge and were fined £1,000.
All operators of FLT's and material handlers need to be trained as the driving characteristics of a loader differ greatly from other farm vehicles. This is particularly important for new entrants, young persons and inexperienced drivers. Vehicle routes and movements need to be planned to separate them from pedestrians. Ideally areas where vehicles (in particular delivery vehicles) are likely to be manoeuvring should be made pedestrian free.
A formal training course should always be provided for operators new to the use of ATV's. Safety helmets should be worn by all operators. These should be to BSEN 1384 (ATV helmet) or BS 6658 (motor cycle helmet).