In this video, Sean talks about and shows the injuries received when a combine harvester fell on him.

In this video, David talks about how the tractor he was driving ran over him leaving him in a wheelchair.

Fatal Accidents

Farm vehicles and machinery account for the highest proportion of farm deaths and accidents. People at risk include vehicle or machine operators and others in the vicinity.

Work-related fatalities involving vehicles 2014-2023 (total vehicle fatalities 83)


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Tractors are potentially lethal and accidents involving tractors account for a very high proportion of all farm accidents each year. Ensure that:

  • the tractor is maintained in good working condition
  • a cab or safety frame is fitted
  • all controls are in good working order and clearly marked
  • brakes are checked regularly and are always in sound working condition
  • all relevant guards are in place and that PTO and Hydraulics are functioning correctly
  • mirrors, lights and wipers are in working order at all times
  • the tractor is always parked safely
  • the guidance in the operator's manual is followed and operate the tractor in a safe manner


Tractor maintenance

  • A cab or safety frame to OECD standards must be fitted. Look for corrosion on frames of older tractors
  • Always ensure that the tractor can be started by the key and that the engine-stop control is effective
  • The vehicle controls should all be in working order and clearly marked. A tidy cab allows safe and easy use of the controls
  • Ensure that the cab floor is kept clear to allow safe use of brakes and clutch
  • Brakes should be in good working order, balanced and interlocked, except when being used for field work
  • A properly functioning handbrake is essential
  • Ensure that the power take-off (PTO) can be turned on and off correctly, and that the PTO shield is kept in place at all times
  • The hitch points of both tractor and trailer must not be worn
  • Do not leave the tractor seat while the engine is running
  • Maintain all tractor components, including hydraulics, u-guard and hitches

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Hydraulic Systems

  • Examine hydraulic pipes before using hydraulic equipment. Repair or replace damaged pipes or couplings before use
  • Never place a finger near any leak in a hydraulic hose pipe, no matter how small the leak. This is likely to cause infection and possibly the loss of a limb
  • Seek immediate medical assistance if even the smallest amount of oil is forced under the skin

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  • Follow the instructions in the operator's handbook
  • Stop the engine and leave the fuel-control stop in the shut-off position
  • Apply the hand brake securely
  • Park on level ground where possible. Leave the vehicle in gear. If on a slope, use the reverse gear if facing downhill and low forward gear if facing uphill
  • Use wheel stops if necessary to prevent a vehicle rolling from its parked position
  • Lower hydraulic implements and loaders to the ground
  • Remove the key if there is a risk of the vehicle being started by an unauthorised person

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Driving on slopes

  • If you use tractors or equipment on slopes, carefully assess the risk of overturning
  • Always assess the slope and ground conditions before commencing work
  • Consider if it is worth taking the risk of operating on sloping ground
  • Make sure you are familiar with the slope. Walk the slope before driving on it
  • Use a four-wheel-drive tractor
  • Select the right gear before approaching the slope, to avoid gear change on the slope
  • Use engine braking when you drive down a slope
  • Keep as much weight uphill as possible
  • Turn uphill if working across a slope
  • Avoid quick, sharp turns
  • If a tractor is about to overturn, do not attempt to jump clear. Stay in the cab and hold on to the steering wheel

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All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)

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:

  1. Training to be undertaken with a registered training provider to a QQI standard or equivalent
  2. 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 (

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

Further info:

For information on the Measure go to - National Farm Safety Measure 2023


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Vehicle Checks

  • Cab/Roll bar in good condition
  • U guard is in place to cover the PTO stub
  • All controls in working order and clearly marked/ understood
  • Brakes in good working order and adequate for the work
  • Handbrake fully operational
  • Mirrors, lights, indicators and wipers functioning, clean and visible
  • All hitching equipment free of defects
  • All visible defects identified and rectified

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