Health and Safety Authority Urges Farmers to Complete Training Ahead of New Quad Bike Regulations
19th September 2023
- The new quad bike law, due to come into effect on November 20th, is the first of its kind in the EU.
- Farming remains the most dangerous sector in Ireland with 191 fatalities recorded on farms during the past decade (2013 – 2022) – 52% of which were fatalities involving farm machinery and vehicles, including quad bikes
- The safe use of quad bikes and other farm vehicles and machinery will be a key focus of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) at this year’s National Ploughing Championships.
Laois, September 19th 2023: The safe use of quad bikes and other farm vehicles and machinery will be a key focus of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) at this year’s National Ploughing Championships.
It comes as farming continues to be one of the most dangerous sectors in Ireland, with 191 fatalities recorded on Irish farms nationwide during the past decade. So far this year, there has been 7 work-related farming fatalities.
Vehicles and machinery are involved in the highest number of farm fatalities in Ireland. In the past ten years, they accounted for 52% of all farm deaths and 8% of all injuries on farms.
As part of the HSA’s efforts to reduce this number, new regulations for the safe use of quad bikes in Ireland are being introduced this November. The new regulations, which come into effect on November 20th, include the introduction of compulsory helmet wearing and training for all quad bike operators. This new quad bike law is the first of its kind in EU.
Welcoming the HSA’s work in promoting farm vehicle safety, Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Neale Richmond said, “I am delighted to support the HSA and the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee‘s work towards safer use of farm machinery. The new quad bike regulations coming this November and indeed the ongoing promotion of the safe use of all machinery on farms is crucial and will only benefit Irish farmers, their families and their businesses. The need for wearing the correct helmet and receiving training in quad bike operation is vital, to prevent people losing their lives and indeed being seriously injured in quad bike incidents.”
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Heydon said, “Farming is still the most dangerous sector in Ireland with 7 fatalities on farms so far this year. Working to promote the safe use of all farm vehicles and machinery is crucial in preventing any further fatalities or injuries on Irish farms. I would urge everyone working on farms to engage with the HSA and these training programmes, particularly on the safe use of farm vehicles and machinery.”
The HSA’s stand at the National Ploughing Championships will this year focus on the importance of these new safety regulations and will include a demonstration area which will showcase the safe use of quad bikes and other farm vehicles, such as tractors. The stand will also offer advice and guidance on the new regulations and how to undergo training in advance of the November deadline.
“More farmers are now aware of the importance of health and safety on their farms but it must continue to be a top priority – as it can, and will save lives,” said Chief Executive Officer of the HSA, Conor O’Brien. “Unfortunately, we have seen work-related fatalities happening to victims from all age groups. Of the 191 fatalities on farms in Ireland over the past decade (2013 – 2022), 21 were aged under 18 years old. This drives home the need for appropriate procedures to be put in place to protect everyone in a workplace, be they employees, contractors, or visitors and family members on farms. Proper risk assessments and health and safety considerations must be implemented in all workplaces, including farms, to ensure everyone’s safety. Because no job is worth a loss of life, injury or illness,” he added.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of farmers contacting the Health and Safety Authority and availing of our information and guidance, which is really positive to see,” said Pat Griffin, Senior Inspector with the HSA.The HSA’s free online farm risk assessment tool farmsafely.com, has recorded an increase in registrations, now with over 16,500 registered users. But we cannot be complacent, and we must continue to look at ways to improve health and safety on farms. We’d encourage anyone at the Ploughing Championships to visit our stand, talk to our Inspectors and engage with our live farm vehicle safety demonstrations.”
The HSA stand will also feature information and guidance on farm vehicle and machinery safety, as well as information and guidance on working with livestock. Farmers’ health checks will also be available by the Irish Heart Foundation and Embrace FARM will be on the stand to support those affected by farm fatalities and serious injury.
The HSA stand is located at Block 2, Row 22, Stand 347.
For further information on the HSA, farm safety and the new quad bike regulations visit www.hsa.ie/quadbikes or follow the HSA on Twitter @TheHSA