There is no question that the All Terrain Vehicle, or ATV, has become an essential tool for many farms in their operations. Whether it is used to check produce in the field, help manage irrigation, or just to transport small equipment back and forth across the farm, it’s a very affordable and efficient alternative to larger and more expensive vehicles. Most farms actually have more than one ATV and some have dozens. They can be operated easily by just about anyone and many states don’t require licensing of the driver or the vehicle.
However, with their narrow wheelbase and high center of gravity, they can be prone to rollovers, causing severe injuries and even death to many of the operators. They can reach speeds of 60 MPH and weigh up to 700 lbs. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 121 fatalities from ATV accidents from 2007-2010. Some safety organizations such as AgSafe offer training courses on operating ATVs, but there is no safety requirement to use an ATV. In view of this, it may be helpful for companies to establish their own safety guidelines for ATVs.
Following are some suggestions for safe use of ATVs:
-Wear protective gear such as helmets, long-sleeved shirts and long pants, boots and gloves.
-Conduct an inspection of the tires, breaks, lights, controls, cables, fuel and oil before starting the ATV. - - Correct any problems with the ATV before using it.
-Know that attachments such as baskets or rider seats may affect the handling of the ATV.
-Drive at speeds appropriate for the conditions -- the road, weather, terrain, and operations nearby.
-Don’t operate the ATV on public roads unless it is licensed for public highways.
-Make sure that any cargo is balanced in the ATV cargo area, and does not exceed the ATV weight limitations.
-Only carry passengers if the ATV is set up to handle passengers.
ATVs are great tools for farming operations. But they can also be dangerous if not handled properly. Western Growers Insurance Services (WGIS) has safety specialists who can train your employees on the proper use and operation of an ATV. If you have interest in finding out more about how WGIS can help you with safety or any of your insurance needs, please contact Greg Nelson, director of commercial lines at (949) 885-2287.
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