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


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.


• 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.