Farm Ireland

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Farmer (67) died after he became trapped under quad, inquest hears

Stock photo
Stock photo

A coroner has called for anti-roll bars to be made mandatory on quad machines which, he says, are being increasingly used not just on farms but also in industry and as 'fun vehicles' in holiday resorts.

Patrick O'Connor, Coroner for Mayo, highlighted the dangers posed by the 'all terrain', 4x4, vehicles at an inquest today into the death of Michael Anthony (Tony) O'Malley.

Mr. O'Malley (67), a former employee of Mayo County Council, was found dead by his wife, Catherine, underneath his quad on the family farm at Derrew, Ballyheane, Castlebar, on September 21 last.

The quad was turned on its side at the bottom of a small hill and the victim was trapped underneath.

Alongside the quad – completely detached, was a spraying machine for a quad which had a 25 gallon/95 litre capacity.

The cause of death was given to today's inquest by Dr. Fadel Bennani, consultant pathologist at Mayo University Hospital as ashphxia due to entrapment on an overturned quad.

Sergeant Gabriel McLoughlin, Garda PSV Inspector, replying to the coroner, said there is no requirement at the moment for anti-roll bars to be fitted on quad units but agreed there should be.

Mr. O'Connor said it is “a little alarming” there are no regulations relating to the use of quads which are becoming increasingly common not just on farms but also in industry and in holiday resorts.

“I have seen 14 and 15 year old get up on these vehicles”, the coroner stated.

He added: “It does seem extraordinary that the use of quads is not more strictly regulated.”

Returning a verdict of accidental death, an inquest jury added a rider that research be carried out into the safety of all quad units.

The coroner, echoing the jury's recommendation, also said the suggestion of a 'panic button' on quads, to raise the alarm in case of emergency, was also worthwhile.

Expressing sympathy with the victim's widow and family, Mr. O'Connor said he hoped lessons would be learned and some good would come from their tragic loss.

Sergeant David Tiernan, on behalf of An Garda Siochana, and Frank Kelly, foreman of the inquest jury, joined in the expressions of sympathy.

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