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Utility-Terrain Vhicle Operator Training Course: Instructor's Guide


Instructor's Notes

  • Identify the locations of emergency exits, rest rooms, and telephones.
  • Establish the course schedule.
  • Have each student sign the "Training Course Attendance" roster.
  • Use the "Introduction" section of the videoenhanced PowerPoint presentation.

Using UTVs

UTVs are motorized off-highway vehicles (figure 3) intended for recreational use and work. In the Forest Service, they are becoming popular for project work, such as trail maintenance, pesticide application, and prescribed burning operations.

Photograph of a UTV on a dirt road in the woods.
Figure 3—An employee operating a UTV in the field.

Before employees use these vehicles, it is critical they understand how to operate them safely. Between January 2003 and August 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reviewed 181 recreational off-highway incidents involving UTVs. Of these incidents, 161 fatalities and 152 injuries were reported. In the Forest Service, some of the more serious UTV accidents (figure 4) have included rollovers due to overloading of the UTV cargo bed, altering the cargo bed configuration thereby changing the vehicle's center of gravity, mounting nonbaffled tanks to the UTV cargo bed, attempting to climb grades exceeding the capability of the loaded UTV, and operating UTVs on sideslopes beyond the vehicle's design specifications. In some cases occupants were not wearing their seatbelts and were thrown from the vehicle. Those who were belted in were protected by the rollover protection system (ROPS).

Graphic of a UTV rolled over onto its top.
Figure 4—UTV rollover. Courtesy of Steve Slocomb.

UTV Operator Qualifications

Forest Service employees must be qualified before operating a UTV. Qualifications include:

Being familiar with the Forest Service "Driver-Operator Guide" and the "Driver-Orientation Self-Study Course," and the owner's manual for the UTV they will drive

  • Following all local and State operating requirements

  • Completing this course or another course meeting the minimum training requirements (FSH 6709.11, chapter 10)

  • Documenting training on form FS-6700-41 and keeping it in the employee's personnel folder

  • Holding a valid Operator's Identification Card, OF-346

  • When students complete this course, they will meet all these qualifications.

All operators shall be reevaluated every 3 years by a certified trainer. Operators must demonstrate their skills and abilities in controls, service, handling, loading, unloading, and operation over local terrain. This reevaluation may take place during a check-ride. The reevaluation is documented on form FS-6700-41. Operators who ride less than 16 hours a year require a check-ride with a certified trainer before a UTV is used for project work.

Operators are responsible for the following:

  • Tracking ride time
  • Informing the appropriate supervisor of the need for a check-ride
  • Contacting a certified trainer

Course Overview

At the beginning of each chapter, objectives are presented that define what students will know or be able to accomplish after completing the unit.

Chapter 1—Differences Between UTVs, ATVs, and Highway Vehicles

  • Students will understand the different features of UTVs.
  • Students will learn how UTVs differ from ATVs and highway vehicles.

Chapter 2—Safety Requirements

  • Students will be able to identify the elements in a job hazard analysis (JHA):

    • The task and procedures to be accomplished

    • The hazards associated with the task or procedure

    • Abatement actions to eliminate or reduce the hazards

    • First aid and emergency evacuation procedures

  • Students will learn why personal protective equipment and clothing (PPE) is used, how it is used, and how it is maintained.

  • Students will learn about Federal and State regulations, rules, and laws they must obey while operating a UTV.

Chapter 3—Preride Inspection

  • Students will be able to perform a preride inspection using the T-CLOC check.

Chapter 4—Transportation

  • Students will be able to load, transport, and unload a UTV.

Chapter 5—Prework Safety Questions

  • Students will consider and answer the prework safety questions.

Chapter 6—Safe Operating Practices

  • Students will be able to load cargo properly.
  • Students will understand how to operate a UTV safely and efficiently.

Chapter 7—Field Proficiency

Students will demonstrate their skills under the guidance of a qualified instructor/certifier and will be evaluated.