Minister English says the measures should help reduce the number of serious all-terrain vehicle injuries and fatalities.
Minister Damien English has announced that it will be obligatory for the users of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to undergo mandatory training, and to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), when using such vehicles for work purposes.
The new meaures will come into effect from 20 November 2023.
The agriculture sector is currently the most dangerous place of work within the Irish economy.
While the sector represents approximately 6% of the national workforce it regularly experiences up to 50% of national annual workplace fatalities.
Damien English TD, Minister for Business, Employment and Retail said: “In recent years, there has been a number of accidents in farming and other areas of work involving the use of ATVs.
“Over a ten-year period from 2009-2018 tractors, ATVs and other vehicles represent 30% of workplace fatalities in the agriculture sector, with ATV fatalities showing a significant increase in recent years, with 11 fatalities attributed to their operation.
"Investigations into the causes of these accidents by the Health and Safety Authority have shown that many cases are caused by the lack of training and head protection.
“The introduction of mandatory training and use of PPE for using ATVs was a recommendation of the Farm Safety Task Force and I am pleased to bring this legislation into effect.
“The two-year lead-in period in relation to the enforcement of these requirements is to allow everyone involved - users, suppliers and retailers – enough time to ensure that all of the necessary measures will be in place for compliance," he insisted.
Kildare's Martin Heydon TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Farm Safety at the Department of Agriculture added: “ATVs are important tools on many farms. However, they can be dangerous, and the 11 fatalities recorded by the HSA are a stark reminder of that fact.
“It is possible to reduce the risks associated with the operation of ATVs and that starts with appropriate head protection and training.
"I welcome the work of my colleague Minister English to introduce this legislation as it is another important step to drive down the unacceptably high number of fatalities on Irish farms," he concluded.
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2021 (S.I. No. 619 of 2021) are available from the Department’s website (https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/Legislation/SI-No-619-of-2021.html)