12-S-17: Utility Four Wheeler Rolls Over Injuring Driver

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November 2012 www.forestresources.org/members/serpub/12-S-17.html

BACKGROUND: On a spring day in the Southeast, a woods worker was operating a side-by-side utility four-wheeler delivering trees to a planting crew. Conditions were wet following a recent spring rain shower. The crew was using the utility vehicle to save walking time from a staging area to the planting site.

PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS: The woods worker was approximately 55 years old and was considered an experienced operator. He had operated four-wheelers on his own land for many years but had never taken an ATV safety course. He was not wearing a seatbelt.

UNSAFE ACT AND CONDITION: The worker was returning to the planting area when he became distracted by the shifting of the load on the back of the side-by-side. The ground conditions were wet and slippery.

28-accidentACCIDENT: The four-wheeler slipped into a ditch and rolled onto its side. The woods worker was thrown out of the cab.

INJURY: Both his arms were broken when they got caught under the roll bar. It took several minutes to get the woods worker out from under the side-by-side. He was then transported to the hospital where he underwent several hours of surgery. He was expected to be off work for several months and to face additional surgical procedures.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CORRECTION:

• Operators of any off-road vehicle should review the operators’ manual and use the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (seat belts and safety helmets).

• All operators should take an ATV safety course.

• When hauling loads, care must be taken to ensure that they are properly secured and do not exceed the load capacity of the machine.

Reviewed by: Southwide Safety Committee; Rick Meyer Appalachian/Southwide Region Manager

Please follow equipment manufacturers’ recommendations for safe operation and maintenance procedures.