Farm Ireland

Thursday 24 May 2018

Training for quad bikes key to avoiding injuries

FRS Training and HSA develop new quad safety course

Jim Dockery

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has identified training as one of the most important safety issues with quad bikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

In the last five years there have been five deaths in the farm sector involving quad bikes. However, the true number of farm accidents involving quads is masked by the high level of under-reporting in the sector.

The Farm Relief Service (FRS) has developed a one-day quad bike training course to give essential safety training aimed at reducing the number of farm accidents with quads.

As part of 'The Quad Squad' competition -- run in conjunction with the Irish Independent and Honda -- FRS Training will provide this safety training to the winners.

The training is vital to their safety and the safety of others as they embrace their new snazzy mode of transport.

The course will include:

nLegislation governing quads on and off road;

nThe dangers when using quads;

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nThe common type of injuries and incorrect procedures;

nThe quad controls and their uses and functions;

nIdentifying various quad symbols and warning signs;

nSafe operation of the quad to an acceptable standard;

nHow to practically and safely attach a trailed implement and drive through a pre-set course;

nThe importance of using your body to counter balance the movements of the quad;

nPersonal protective equipment (PPE);

nMaintenance checks.

Quad bike accidents:

In recent years, the number of serious work-related accidents involving quad bikes, in particular in agriculture and forestry, has given rise to great concern.

The underlying causes are usually one or more of the following:

nLack of structured training and/or experience;

nExcessive speed;

nCarrying a passenger or an unbalanced load;

nOverturning on a bank, ditch or bump in fields;

nA steep slope combined with other factors, e.g. ground or load conditions;

nTowing excessive loads with equipment without brakes.

Professional training is vital. It is a legal requirement to provide adequate training under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.

Under the 2005 Act, an employer must provide such instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to the health and safety of their employees.

The employer must provide adequate training and ensure that quads are only ridden by employees who have received appropriate training in their safe use.

This includes the use of any towed equipment or attachments. These requirements also apply to the self-employed.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

More than half of all quad bike riders have been thrown off at some time.

There is no cab or roll bar, so your only protection is what you wear.

nHead protection is vital. A large percentage of serious injuries with quads involve head injuries;

nWear clothing that is strong and covers the arms and legs;

nGloves are useful for protection and to keep hands warm in cold weather for good control of the quad;

nWear boots or Wellington boots which are strong and have good grip;

nIt is important to protect the eyes from insects and branches with either a visor or safety goggles;

nHigh visibility clothing may also be appropriate.

Off-road riding is especially hard on a quad so it is essential to carry out maintenance according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

It is also important to know your own ground and stick to planned routes where possible.

Walk new routes if necessary to check for hidden obstructions. When selecting routes, allow for changes to the surface and weather conditions and for any loads and attachments, as these make a marked difference to the stability and abilities of the machine.

Never carry a passenger on a quad. The long seat is for operators to shift their body weight backwards and forwards for different slope conditions, not for carrying passengers.

You should not carry a passenger in a trailer behind a quad, as any movement will make the machine unstable and could turn it over.


Quad bike safety training is an essential one-day course offered by FRS Training. Every quad bike rider should attend a course before operating a quad for their own safety and the safety of others.

Contact FRS Training for further details or visit

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Jim Dockery is training manager with FRS Training. He is chairman of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) Farm Safety Partnership Livestock sub-committee.

Indo Farming