According to Pat Griffin, senior inspector at the Health and Safety Authority, there are six key areas to look out for.Choose a quad that fits your size: There are different sizes of machines and manufacturers can advise on this.Ensure proper maintenance: This includes keeping tyre pressure at the correct level, usually 3PSI. "Many farmers overinflate their quad tyres, making them bouncier," Griffin said.Get trained: Professional driver training would avoid a significant number of accidents, according to the safety inspector.Wear protective gear: A helmet is the obvious one, but "footwear is as important", said Griffin. He added that quad drivers should wear goggles or safety glasses to protect their eyes against projections.Only use the quad in appropriate conditions: "Plan your route and avoid excessive slopes," Griffin said. Ground conditions are also important, especially where tractor tracks in muddy soil have dried and become solid. A quad can easily overturn if hitting them at the wrong angle, he warned.Fit an anti-roll bar: Such devices can avoid crushing and are at the core of a Fianna Fáil bill on quad safety currently before the Oireachtas, following the recommendations of an inquest into the death of a Co Mayo farmer last year. However, Griffin gave this the last priority on his list. "I'm a bit concerned about people fitting a safety device and saying 'I can drive any way I like now'," he said. According to him, several of the 12 fatal quad accidents on farms in the past 10 years would not have been avoided by anti-roll bars. The HSA is currently seeking feedback from users to assess their efficiency.
The HSA will conduct quad safety demonstrations at the National Ploughing Championships between 18-20 September on stand 299, block 4, row 14.
Farm Safety Week: 12 quad deaths in past decade
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