Update on the implementation of Regulations governing ATV/Quad Bike Training and Helmet wearing SI 619 OF 2021
The use of ATV/Quad Bikes is becoming more and more common on farms and forests and for many other sectors such as road works, airports, military ATV’s/Quads are essential pieces of equipment. However, there have been a significant number of fatalities involving quads and the potential for a serious injury or fatality when using a quad is high.
The main causes of serious or fatal injury associated with ATV/Quad Bikes are:
- being thrown off during vehicle overturns or after loss of control;
- collisions with structures, trees, poles, other vehicles etc.;
- being trapped/asphyxiated under an overturned machine;
- being drowned under a quad bike overturned in a water course;
- pedestrians being struck or run over by an ATV/Quad Bikes.
Contributory factors/underlying causes of fatalities and injury with ATV/Quad Bikes can include:
- lack of formal operator training and/or experience;
- incorrect/lack of appropriate head protection;
- excessive speed;
- age of the operator;
- carrying a passenger on a quad bike;
- unbalanced loads or overloading;
- tipping on a bank, ditch, rut or bump;
- loss of control on a steep slope combined with other factors, e.g. ground or load conditions;
- towing excessive loads with un-braked equipment;
- poor maintenance, e.g. faulty brakes, incorrect tyre pressures, etc.
Regulations governing the safe use of ATV/Quad Bikes in all workplaces (SI 619/2021) come into effect on 20 November 2023. Regulation 619/2021
These regulations have 2 essential requirements of note:
- Training to be undertaken with a registered training provider to a QQI standard or equivalent
- Use of helmets to a (generally) prescribed standard
The existing QQI ATV training standard is (5N1752) which is a level 5 minor award with the stated purpose of:
The purpose of this award is to equip the learner with the relevant knowledge, skill and competence to drive and handle an all-terrain vehicle in a safe manner in compliance with relevant legislation.
Only training to this QQI Standard or equivalent is acceptable for compliance with the regulations.
The Authority advises all training providers to register with either QQI/Lantra/City & Guilds or other registration bodies and have their ATV/quad bike training programmes confirmed, by the registered body, as meeting the minimum standard set out in the QQI ATV/quad bike standard, 5N1752 Certificate Specification (qqi.ie).
The registration body shall determine that the training courses of registered training providers meets the requirements of the QQI ATV/quad bike standard, 5N1752.
Persons who undertake ATV/Quad Bike training must ensure that;
- the training provider used, is a registered training provider, registered with a registration body such as QQI, Lantra, City & Guilds or others such registered training bodies, and
- on successful completion of the training course, they receive a certificate of training that confirms that the course was successfully completed to the QQI standard 5N1752 or equivalent, and
- they retain and show when requested their training certificate as proof of training.
Examples of some of the tasks to be completed by a trainee in the QQI Standard include:
- Carries out safety assessment (hazards, risks and controls) associated with all terrain vehicle operations.
- Carries out routine pre starting checks specified in the operators manual.
- Identifies functions and setting of controls.
- Carries out correct starting procedure.
- Assesses terrain and remains aware of surroundings at all times.
- Rides at a safe and suitable speed.
- Manoeuvres the vehicle through a confined course with variable terrain and ground conditions using appropriate controls and showing correct body movement.
- Uses a safe hitching procedure to attach a trailer or trailed implement to vehicle.
- Manoeuvres the vehicle and trailer through a confined course with variable terrain and ground conditions using appropriate controls and showing correct body movement.
- Uses smooth take off and speed control.
The duration of courses will generally be 1 day for experienced riders and 2 days for new entrants with a period of practice between these training days. The ratio of trainer to trainee should be no greater than 1:4 persons and persons undertaking ATV/Quad Bike training should be 16 year or over and must wear appropriate head protection and other PPE.
Helmet types suitable for ATV/Quad Bike operations, depending on the circumstances of use, are motorcycle helmets and specialist ATV helmets. All helmets should have a chinstrap and be capable of being used with suitable eye protection. The type of helmet chosen must be based on an assessment of the circumstances in which the ATV/Quad Bike will be used, e.g. the types of surface travelled over and anticipated speeds. The harder the surface and higher the speed the greater the degree of protection needed. Standard industrial hard hats, forestry helmets and cyclist helmets are not acceptable for any ATV/Quad Bike operations. Importantly, ‘All quad bike helmets should fit comfortably and securely, to ensure full protection.’
- Consider the risk of overturning on sloping ground
- Professional training is essential before using an ATV
- Never carry a passenger on an ATV
- Wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including a helmet
ATVs require on-going maintenance as specified by the manufacturer. Check, in particular, that:
- tyre pressures are correct
- brakes give a straight stop
- the throttle operates smoothly in all steering positions
- Many ATVs have no differential, so the vehicle speed and placing of your body weight is crucial for safe cornering.
- An Information Sheet on the safe use of ATVs in agriculture and forestry is available
For information on the Measure go to gov.ie - National Farm Safety Measure 2023