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.

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