Farmer fined after quad bike death

Posted: 15th January 2013

A recent case highlights the need for farm workers who use quad bikes always to wear a safety helmet.

Seaside HousePhillip Nyhan, of Wotter, was an apprentice for Moorskills Farming Project Ltd. He was sent to work at Runnage Farm, on Dartmoor, where he was given instruction on using a quad bike. In June 2007, he was involved in a collision with a car on a minor road near Postbridge and later died of his injuries in hospital.

Farmer Philip Coaker was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after a police investigation discovered that the rear brakes of the quad had broken a week or so before the accident, but Mr Coaker had decided that the vehicle was still safe to use with caution.

However, the court heard that the defect was not directly responsible for Philip's death, which was caused by the head on collision between the quad bike and the car.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector, Simon Jones, said, “It is essential that quad bikes are properly maintained. If a quad is not in full working order it should not be used. In this case Mr Coaker should have taken the vehicle out of use until the back brake was fully repaired.

“Sadly, although Phillip Nyhan had access to a helmet that he was told to wear, he was not wearing one when the accident happened.”

Mr Coaker pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 5 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £250 and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.

Further information and safety advice on using quad bikes can be foundon the HSE website.