Wear helmets on quad bikes, pleads farm safety chief

An agriculture safety chief has urged farmers not to ignore simple life-saving advice to wear helmets when riding quad bikes.

Rick Brunt’s call comes after details of an horrific incident, when a teenager suffered a serious head wound, emerged in court proceedings.

The farm worker, aged 17, from Shap, Cumbria, was trapped underneath an overturned quad bike for an hour with a wound that later needed 17 stiches.

Carlisle Magistrates’ Court heard (on 20 June) that family partnership JF & M Bland had contracted the worker for general agricultural duties and he was instructed to use the firm’s quad bike to get to a large sloping field.

He did so, without any training, and with no helmet provided for him to wear. The vehicle overturned and it was an hour before one of the partners of the company found him.

After investigating the circumstances of the incident, which happened in April 2014, the Health and Safety Executive decided to prosecute JF & M Bland, of Dacre, Penrith, for breaches of health and safety laws.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. It was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,693.

Rick Brunt, head of agriculture at HSE, said:

“Vehicle-related accidents are a significant problem in agriculture and one of the biggest killers. Only people who are trained and capable should operate all-terrain vehicles, like quad bikes. Every year, on average, we see two deaths and numerous injuries involving ATVs.”

HSE inspector Matthew Tinsley, who investigated and prosecuted for HSE, said:

“This is a reminder to all farmers and farm workers that it just isn’t worth taking unnecessary risk. Training is vital, as is head protection. This is simple, common sense advice that, if followed, can save lives.”