All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are well known for recreational use but are also valuable tools in many lines of business. However, they come with inherent risks, including injuries and even fatalities. To ensure ATV safety and avoid unnecessary hazards, it is essential to follow industry and provincial guidelines.
ATV-related fatalities have been a concern in Canada, with an average of 100 deaths annually between 2013 and 2021. Most of these fatalities were the result of rollovers, while other causes included collisions with stationary objects, ejections, and collisions with moving vehicles.
If you work in oil and gas, energy, forestry, or law enforcement, ATV certification may be required for employees who operate these vehicles. Even for smaller operations, like ranchers and general contractors, ATV training and certification are highly beneficial for safety, regardless of previous experience.
To minimize risks, ATV operators should consider the following tips for improved ATV safety:
Complete appropriate ATV training
Overconfidence can lead to accidents, especially among novice riders. It is recommended that businesses with ATV-operating employees provide certified driver training courses. The Canadian ATV Safety Institute (CASI) collaborates with the ATV Safety Institute (ASI) and the Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council (COHV) to offer the CASI ATV RiderCourse in several provinces. Additionally, the Canada Safety Council offers ATV rider training operated by CSC-certified instructors. Provincial safety handbooks, videos, and toolkits, such as Ontario’s Smart Ride Safe Ride and Alberta’s ATV Safety Toolkit, can also be valuable resources.
Use helmets and PPE
Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial. A 2021 study estimated at least 33 per cent of ATV-related fatalities involved riders not wearing helmets. It is recommended to use a DOT- or Snell-approved helmet with the proper safety rating for ATVs. If ATVs are used in a commercial setting, the company should provide helmets to each rider, preferably with a full-face shield. Protective eye-wear, gloves, boots, and long pants are also advisable. Implementing policies and procedures that mandate PPE usage can ensure compliance and safety.
Always drive sober
It is essential to always drive an ATV sober, as alcohol and drugs impair driving ability and decision-making. It was reported in 2021 that 51 per cent of ATV-related fatalities involved drivers who had consumed alcohol, cannabis, or other drugs.
Single seat vs. two-up ATVs
ATVs designed for a single rider should not be modified to carry passengers. Doing so can alter the vehicle’s center of gravity, making it more challenging to control and potentially leading to accidents. In cases where multiple ATV operators are required for a job, using designated two-up ATVs with dedicated passenger features, such as footwells and grab handles, is the safer option.
When using an ATV on roadways and public lands, ensure the vehicle is registered with a rear license plate and insured under an appropriate liability policy. Carry copies of ownership, registration, and insurance documents in a waterproof pouch. The owner remains liable for any injuries or damages, even when someone else is operating the ATV.
Before riding, thoroughly inspect the ATV for any issues, such as oil leaks, proper tire inflation, and working brakes. Stick to designated trails whenever possible, and always inform someone of your destination and estimated return time for added safety.
By following these safety tips, operators can significantly reduce the risks associated with ATVs, which promotes a safer environment for everyone involved. To learn more about business vehicle insurance, visit our Business Insurance page today.
This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.