PEOSTA, IOWA — Accidents involving all-terrain vehicles are a major safety concern in the agriculture industry.
Farzaneh Khorsandi, assistant safety and health engineering specialist at University of California-Davis, spoke about ATV safety during a webinar hosted by AgriSafe.
“All-terrain vehicles are unstable vehicles and kill between 500 and 800 people in the U.S. every year and (cause) around 100,000 injuries every year,” she said. “Twenty-two percent of those fatalities involve children younger than 16 years of age.
“The chance of having a rollover accident and becoming pinned under the ATV is higher for farm workers than recreational riders.”
Environmental and roadway conditions affect the risk for accidents.
All-terrain vehicles are not designed to be used on roads. Riding on public or paved roads increases the risk for fatalities and accidents.
Other risk factors include lighting, weather and slope of the terrain, Khorsandi said.
Wearing the proper protective gear is crucial. Helmets, eye protection, gloves, boots and protective clothing are advised.
“It’s recommended to have an approved motorized helmet when riding an ATV,” Khorsandi said.
“There are two agencies that meet helmet certification standards: the Snell Memorial Foundation or Department of Transportation. Helmets should have a strong outer shell to protect the head from the impact, and also some kind of impact absorption inside.”
Helmets will vary in size, shape and weight. It’s recommended that each rider have their own helmet. Helmets can be fitted at the dealership.
Some helmets include eye protection, others don’t. Open-faced helmets require drivers to wear goggles.
The lens must be able to endure flying debris.
Hand protection is necessary for grip and control of the vehicle. Some gloves offer additional padding and anti-vibration materials to reduce strain and increase comfort for the driver.
“The proper footwear for ATV riders is low heel, over-the-ankle style boots or shoes,” Khorsandi said. “Durable outer material is also recommended.
“Motorcycle boots offer maximum protection against heat and road-encountered obstacles.”
It’s also recommended to wear long sleeves and long pants.
There are many other protocols to follow for safe ATV use.
According to Cooperative Extension System, the following actions can reduce the risk of an ATV-related injury or death:
- Participate in certified safety training.
- Maintain your ATV in proper working condition.
- Practice safe operating procedures.
- Follow safety recommendations from the ATV’s manufacturer and organizations that address safety in production agriculture, such as Cooperative Extension programs at land-grant universities.