The contribution tractors have made to farming is immeasurable. They are one of the most important pieces of equipment on a farm and continue to increase farm productivity year-after-year. Unfortunately tractors also account for three out of every five farm fatalities. Injuries typically occur when the tractor rolls over, passengers fall off the tractor, or the tractor runs over a bystander.
It is imperative tractors are properly maintained and all operators receive safety training. Help ensure tractor safety by being proactive and keeping these safety tips in mind.
- Farm tractors should be equipped for roll-over accidents. Other than safe operating procedures, having a rollover protective structure (ROPS) and seat belts in place is the most important thing you can do to avoid becoming another statistic.
- Farm tractors should be equipped with bypass starter covers. Many farm tractors do not have bypass starter covers to prevent jump starting. A tractor operator may attempt to jump start a farm tractor if the battery is dead. If the tractor is in gear, it could lurch forward and run over operators and innocent bystanders.
- Farm tractors should be equipped with slow moving vehicle emblems. Slow moving emblems warn other drivers of the slow moving vehicle on the roadway. This emblem should be centered between two and six feet above the ground.
- Farm tractors should be equipped with fire extinguishers and a first aid kit. An ABC fire-extinguisher and first-aid kit should be readily available. Inspect fire extinguishers every six months to ensure safety.
- Farm tractors should be equipped with master shields. Many farm tractors do not have their original equipment power take-off master shields. If the missing shield exposes an operating power takeoff, operators are at risk for entanglement around the spinning shaft.
- Farm equipment should be hitched properly. Farm tractors may become unstable when improper hitching is attempted. Tractor drawbars are designed for towing and take into account the tractor's crucial center of gravity. Hitching or towing at points other than the drawbar may result in a rear overturn.
- Farm tractors operator's platforms should be clear of debris.
- Farm tractors should be inspected for any hazards before operating. Always make sure you check to see if the tractor's tires are properly inflated, lights and flashers are operational and hydraulic lines are free of leaks. If you find a hazard then you will need to correct it before operating the tractor.
- Farm tractors should not transport extra passengers. Extra riders on farm tractors are highly discouraged due to the hazard associated with falling from the tractor or falling into the path of trailing equipment.
Information was provided by National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension located on the National Ag Safety Database at www.cdc.gov/nasd and the National Safety Council at www.nsc.org.