Utility Vehicle Safety Talk
Utility vehicles, also known as UTVs, are used in many different industries today. They are a convenient way to travel on construction sites as well as carry materials to different parts of a work site. With various types of these vehicles available on the market and the differences in use, they are a common sight at many workplaces. While these vehicles are convenient to use, it is important to understand how to operate them safely.
Utility Vehicle Incidents
There is not a comprehensive source of information that collects injury and fatality statistics relating to the operation of utility vehicles. There are various reports of estimated injury and fatalities relating to the use of these machines. Enough incidents resulting in injuries occurred that the Consumer Product Safety Commission took notice and recommended changes to the designs of the machines. The CPSC received 428 reports of UTV-related incidents that occurred between January 2003 and December 2011. There were a total of 826 individuals involved in these reported incidents with 231 of them being fatalities. Most of the fatalities resulted from a rollover type crash.
Although the CPSC’s research in this particular report is thorough, there are many incidents that occur that are not reported or are incorrectly categorized which greatly reduces the reported injuries resulting from operating these machines. Also, use of utility vehicles has greatly increased since 2011.
Utility Vehicle Safety and Operation Best Practices
- Only purchase and operate machines that are equipped with a roll-over protection system.
- Be familiar with the machine you are using. Always read the operator’s manual and understand the hazards, controls, and safety features of the machine.
- Inspect the utility vehicle and controls prior to use.
- Always wear your seatbelt during use.
- Only transport passengers in the vehicle if it is designed for passengers. Never allow anyone to ride on top, off the side, or in the bed of the vehicle.
- Keep body parts in the machine at all times. Never extend your arm out in an attempt to prevent a tip over.
- Obey speed limits on the job. Adjust speed for other hazards such as other moving equipment and weather conditions.
- Never operate across steep slopes or uneven terrain.
- Operate UTVs within design limits.
Utility vehicles can be dangerous machines if not operated safely. It is necessary to follow all the safety requirements for the specific vehicle you are operating. Even when off of the job, always operate these machines in a safe and controlled condition.