Rising ATV use on jobsites

As all-terrain vehicles increasingly are used by Nevada businesses, more are investing in training to reduce the threat of injuries and fatalities.

Truckee Meadows Community College, which provides customized training for businesses that use ATVs, has tripled the number of workers it's trained since 2004.

The training, first developed in 2001, reached 36 workers in 2006.

"We first created an ATV safety program for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management six years ago," said TMCC Safety Center Manager Scott Alquist. "Interest in customized ATV safety programs is growing, especially with telecommunications companies and governmental entities."

The top industries using ATVs are agriculture, law enforcement, construction and facilities management.

"Businesses are starting to realize that to prevent ATV accidents, their employees need training," Alquist said. "We are also seeing an increase in companies wanting safety training for ATVs and utility vehicles such as Gators, Mules and Rangers."

The number of workplace-related ATV accidents is climbing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2001 the most recent year for which statistics are available there were more than 240 ATV occupational injuries. This number is more than double the 113 injuries reported in 1992.

Causes of accidents, the federal agency says, range from unbalanced loads to excessive speed to insufficient training.

Compounding the problem, new ATV drivers face a much higher risk of injury. The Consumer Protection Safety Commission found that during the first month of operation, new ATV drivers have an injury rate 13 times higher than more experienced operators.

According to OSHA, employers can reduce the risk of injury by modifying work practices, requiring workers to wear protective helmets and obtaining vehicle-specific training.


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