We know that work is accelerating every day and the rising use of Utility Terrain Vehicles can be efficient, but not always safe. UTVs or “side-by-sides,” are useful equipment for transporting materials and people, or to access off-road sites. UTVs are an alternative to ATVs and are commonly used on farms, ranches, or worksites. However, when it comes to safety, UTVs should be compared more closely to small trucks than ATVs. Wearing a seatbelt is the most important safety measure when riding in a UTV with a rollover protection system (ROPS). As of July 2021, there have been 31 UTV fatalities according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Almost a third of those individuals were confirmed to have not been wearing seatbelts.
In addition to wearing a seat belt, there are many other things that can be done to control hazards:
- Before starting, check gas, brakes and tires.
- If the UTV has a rollover protection system, wear your seatbelt.
- Only transport the same number of passengers, as there are seatbelts or seats.
- Avoid sharp turns and sudden starts or stops.
- When driving in fields or off-roading, slow down and be aware of gates, fences, ditches, holes or other hazards.
To help illustrate the impact on workers of not following proper safety guidelines, the National Safety Council determined the average cost of a workplace injury in 2019 was $42,000 (see chart below). This amount, however, does not take into account the substantial impact of time missed from work – both to the worker and the company.
- Know your specific UTV; each model has its own unique features and manufacturer safety instructions.
- Ask what can go wrong and what can be done to prevent hazards. This is also called a hazard assessment: thinking through the tasks and work environment to determine how to control hazards and risks.
- Maintain a safe speed. Just because the UTV can go 50 mph doesn’t mean it should.
- Some UTVs qualify as slow-moving vehicles and therefore require a SMV sign.
- Review your business’s specific safety expectations for UTV use, including speed, passengers, service and maintenance expectations, and seatbelts.
- Do your best to help everyone get to their destination safely and avoid costly accidents!
For this and more safety resources, reach out to your Marsh McLennan Agency team today. They can provide you the best practices and safety tips that your organization needs to stay safe and keep moving forward.
https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/work/costs/work-injury-costs/ (accessed 8/9/21)