NATIONAL PLOUGHING CHAMPIONSHIP NEWS: Mandatory training and helmets will soon become a legal requirement for quad bike users

Mandatory training and helmets will soon become a legal requirement for quad bike users

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) stand at this year’s National Ploughing Championships is focusing on the important safety regulations around quad bikes (ATVs), which include the introduction of compulsory helmet wearing and training for operators. The Authority will have a demonstration area which will showcase the safe use of quad bikes and have advice and guidance available on the new regulations and on how to become compliant in advance of the November 2023 deadline. The demonstration of the safe use of quad bikes will be happening on the hour at the HSA stand.

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Over the last ten years (2012- 2021) there have been 11 fatalities in agriculture involving quad bikes.
The HSA has also reported 1 further quad bike-related fatality to date this year. This is out of the 10 reported work-related fatalities to date on Irish farms in 2022.
Alongside the quad bike safety messaging the Authority has launched a new guide on The Safe Use of Chainsaws, which will be of particular interest to farmers, professional chainsaw contractors and forestry workers.

Last year, in 2021, the HSA reported 1 fatality relating to chainsaw use and have reported of 39 serious incidents/injury involving chainsaws over the past ten years across all sectors. However, this figure is likely to be higher due to low reporting of injuries.

Welcoming the HSA’s work promoting the regulations on Quad Bike Safety with the farming community Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD stated “Farming continues to be the most dangerous occupation in Ireland, with 10 people losing their lives in 2021 and 10 more so far this year.

“While there have been some improvements in recent fatality figures, every death is one too many and is devastating for the families, friends and communities left behind. I would urge everyone working on farms to engage with the HSA’s guidance and look to the many supports they have available to work safer on farms, especially when it comes to operating machinery.

It’s encouraging to see the demonstrations here at the HSA stand where farmers can see first-hand how best to use quad bikes safely, the importance of wearing helmets and how to access training to ensure best practice in safety when it comes to working on Irish farms.

Commenting on the HSA stand’s focus on quad bikes and other machinery hazards at this year’s event HSA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Sharon McGuinness said “The focus on Quad Bike regulations is timely as we look to just a 12-month period where farmers will need to ensure they are trained quad bike users and wear an appropriate helmet when operating these vehicles. In the last 10 years, we’ve had 11 fatalities involving quad bikes, so we know these are important safety measures, which will be in place in the coming year and with the guidance and advice available from the HSA, farmers have time to be ready to meet these changes.

“I’d also ask farmers to read our latest Guide on the Safe Use of Chainsaws. It’s important that farmers get appropriate training before using this type of machinery and this guidance will assist them in recognising the hazards and the appropriate steps to take to ensure they’re safe when chainsaws are is used.”

The HSA stand will also feature areas covering the recently published Farmer Health and Wellness Booklet, which was developed by the Farm Safety Partnership earlier this summer. The booklet covers a range of areas of health and wellness.

The HSA stand is located at Row 19, stand number 307 and will welcome any questions on farm safety and the latest quad bike Regulations.

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