Improving Tractor Operator Safety

Tractors are the main cause of accidental deaths on farms. Over the years, many farmers, farm works and others living on or visiting farms, have been killed or seriously injured falling from moving tractors, being run over by tractors, or being crushed when a tractor rolls sideways or backwards.

Here are some ways of improving tractor operator safety:

  • Read and follow safety procedures in the manufacturer's manual.
  • Insure an approved cab or roll-over protective structure (ROPS) is fitted.
  • Fit and use a seatbelt on tractors with ROPS.
  • If there is a risk from falling objects, fit a fall-on protective structure (FOPS)
  • To reduce risk of back strain, fit a seat with side restraints and a backrest.
  • Wear hearing protection, and remember, not all tractors cabs are sound proof.
  • Keep children away from tractors and machinery.
  • Remove keys when tractors are not in use.
  • Have an up-to-date maintenance schedule
  • Follow safe Maintenance and jacking procedures.
  • Insure the operator is properly trained for each type of tractor work.
  • Always mount and dismount on a tractor's left side to avoid controls.
  • Adjust the seat so all controls are safely and comfortably reached.
  • Keep all guards in place, including the power take-off (PTO).
  • Operate the self-starter from the operator position only.
  • Never carry passengers.

When operating a tractor:

  • Drive at speeds slow enough to retain control over unexpected events.
  • Reduce speed before turning or applying brakes.
  • Watch out for ditches, logs, rocks, and embankments and also any person or pet, know where they are at all times.
  • On steep slopes, without a trailed implement, reverse up for greater safety.
  • Engage the clutch gently at all times, especially when going uphill or towing.
  • Use a wide of a wheel track as possible on hillsides and sloping ground.
  • Descend slopes cautiously in low gear, using the motor as a brake.
  • Never mount or dismount from a moving tractors.
  • Insure the park brake is on and operating effectively before dismounting.
  • Take short breaks regularly when working long hours.

When towing implements:

  • Fit attachments according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Always attach implements to the drawbar or the mounting points provided by the manufacturer.
  • Never alter, modify or raise the height of the drawbar unless provided for by the manufacturer.
  • Regularly check safety pins on towed lift-wing implements, to insure they are not worn.
  • Insure all guards on towed implements are in place before operating.
  • Never hitch above the centerline of the rear axle, around the axle housing or to the top link pin.
  • Never adjust or work on implements while they are in motion.
  • Never attach implements unless the PTO shaft is guarded.
  • When parking, always lower the three point linkage and towed implement.

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