Tips for Tractor Safety
Modern farm tractors provide most of the power needed for agricultural enterprises today. According to the National Agriculture Safety Database (NASD), tractors are the most common piece of equipment on farms. Because tractors are used so much, they can cause a variety of serious injuries. The NASD says rollovers account for about half of fatal and disabling injuries. Other injuries include:
- Falls from moving tractors
- Colliding with motor vehicles or roadside objects
- Slipping and falling while mounting and dismounting
- Running over bystanders
- Striking overhead hazards
- Being struck by flying objects, broken parts, or hydraulic fluid
- Being crushed by a poorly supported tractor during repair work
- Sustaining cuts, bruises, burns and other nuisance, but painful injuries, connected with maintenance and routine operation
- Being overcome by exhaust gases inside closed buildings
- Burns from fires that erupt during refueling or as a result of a collision
All of these injuries are very dangerous, but can be avoided if you operate a tractor safely and responsibly. Knowledge, skill and common sense are necessary to avoid tractor accidents. The NASD offers these tips to stay safe while operating a tractor:
- No short cuts - Many accidents happen while trying to save a few seconds or a few steps. There are no short cuts to safety. Operate your equipment the safe way, the right way.
- Take a break - Other accidents happen when a farmer is over-tired. Long hours involved in a repetitive task, like driving a tractor down a long field, can be very fatiguing. Taking a short break will help keep your mind and your muscles more alert.
- Reduce stress - Farming can be extremely stressful. It seems there are always deadlines to beat and never enough time to do a job right. People rarely work well under stress. Talking about your problems, planning ahead, and remaining flexible will help to reduce stress and improve clear thinking.
- Know your equipment - Be familiar with all equipment you operate. Also, instruct all drivers on the safe operation of farm machinery by going over the operator's manual. Know the equipment's potential and limits. Use the equipment as it was developed.