Utility task vehicles (UTVs) and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are quickly becoming the preferred motorized equipment for lineworkers to use to access difficult terrain for necessary inspection and repair of infrastructure. And although they are exceptionally capable, these vehicles – identifiable by their large off-road tires, relatively small size and light weight – pose certain challenges for both utilities and contractors who wish to use them on job sites. For starters, some workers use these types of vehicles in their personal lives for various outdoor recreational activities. However, when they are deployed in a professional setting, many of the rider’s habits and rules of operation must change.
Safety One Training, the company we work for, was recently tasked with implementing an industrial training program for a West Coast contractor that complied with a utility company’s training requirements. From the outside, it appears that ATV/UTV training can be complex and challenging to implement, but based on our experience, there are typically three broad categories that need to be addressed before these vehicles can be used on the job site: when to choose these machines, operator training requirements, and machine capabilities and limitations.