All farmers and any personnel within a workplace who operate a quad (ATV) must now have undergone training and must now wear a helmet when riding a quad.

These new regulations officially came into play as of Monday 20 November, and have positioned Ireland as the first EU country to introduce such regulations.

The new regulations require riders to hold a valid ATV Safety Training Certificate, which is to be provided by a registered training provider to a QQI standard or equivalent. Operators are now also required to wear a helmet that meets prescribed standards, at all times when riding a quad.

These new regulations have been recommended by the Farm Safety Task Force for a number of years. Its compliance is now mandatory and, according to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), enforcement of the new regulation will be carried out through on farm inspections.

Don’t forget, these regulations apply to all quads – old and new – and to all operators, not just the owner.

The training

The course will last for one full day for experienced operators and for up to two days for inexperienced operators.

It is important to seek confirmation from the provider that the training provided will be of QQI standard, or its equivalent, in order to qualify.

The persons undertaking the training should be 16 years of age or over. On average, pricing per person for experienced operators ranges from €250 to €300, while some providers may offer group discounts.

The course will start with general machine knowledge and pre-start checks. The rider must have an acceptable understanding of the ATV, key components, legalities and its limitations.

From here, it will look at route planning, assessing the terrain, correct mounting/dismounting, safe-starting/stopping, operator mobility and weight distribution on varying terrains.

Loading and towing capacities, and their respective limitations, are looked at closely. The majority of ATVs will carry and tow over and above their rated capacities, but both have a major effect on the ATV’s handling and braking capabilities.

Operators are now required to wear a helmet, which meets prescribed standards, at all times when riding a quad.

Upon completion, candidates will undergo a practical assessment (60%) and formal questioning in written or verbal form (40%).

Successful candidates will receive a Level 5 minor award in All Terrain Vehicle Operations (5N1752). In most cases, this certificate will remain valid for five years. For now, UTV operators are not required to undergo this training.