WorkSafeBC Home

Worker seriously injured when ATV flipped over backward

Date of incident: May 2021
Notice of incident number: 2021158820010
Employers: Tree planting company

Incident summary
A worker (foreman) was using an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) to transport boxes of seedlings to tree planters for planting. The worker secured four boxes of seedlings to the rear cargo rack of the ATV and began driving over rough terrain (the skidder trail) to the point of delivery. The worker descended into a gully, and as he was going up the opposite side, the ATV flipped over backward and landed on top of him. The worker sustained serious injuries.

Investigation conclusions


  • ATV incorrectly loaded. The foreman incorrectly loaded the boxes of seedlings on the ATV by putting all four boxes on the rear cargo rack. This was contrary to the manufacturer’s instructions, which warn that carrying loads on only one cargo rack increases the possibility of vehicle overturn. When the foreman drove up the sloped side of a gully, the weight of the boxes on the rear cargo rack resulted in the ATV flipping over backward.

Contributing factors

  • Inadequate supervision. On this worksite, foremen had to use ATVs to transport boxes of seedlings from a staging area to where they would be planted. Because no other access to the planting block was known at the time, the employer was aware that the foreman or another foreman would have been using the ATV to deliver boxes of seedlings to the planters in the block on the skidder trail.
  • Inadequate training. The foreman received only rudimentary training on ATV operation. The employer failed to provide training that ensured workers operating ATVs understood the significance of four-wheel drive (AWD), as opposed to two-wheel drive, and knew the correct loading procedures. The employer had no documentation showing what instruction on ATV operation was given to the foreman, nor any documentation showing that, as required, a qualified person had assessed the ability and knowledge of workers who had to operate ATVs.

Request the full report

Publication Date: Jun 2023 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2021158820010