ASAP Day 3 – Tractor Safety
Today is the third day of Agricultural Safety Awareness Program (ASAP) Week and although there are many topics of concern when it comes to safety in agriculture, Tyree Ag is focusing on one area each day this week. Today’s topic is tractor safety. At Tyree Ag, we currently operate four spray rig tractors and take safety precautions to keep our drivers and everyone around them safe. We know people of all ages are in or around tractors either operating or working on them and it is essential that everyone involved know the safety tips when it comes to these pieces of farm machinery. These tips are just a glimpse into what precautions need to be made while operating or being around farm machinery.
The following information was taken from Farm Bureau’s ASAP Week Resources on their website.
“Spring planting means tractors will be started, plows attached, and long days of hard work will begin as farmers hurry to get their crops in the ground as early as possible to increase yields.”
“Agriculture is one of the most dangerous jobs in the nation, which comes as a surprise to most people who are not farmers. It is no surprise to those of us involved in agriculture, however. Few, if any, farmers and ranchers do not personally know families who lost loved ones in farm mishaps, not to mention the injuries that cause loss of fingers, arms and legs.”
“Special attention must be paid to children on the farm during planting season. Nothing is harder for parents than losing a child. Regardless of their maturity and experience on the farm, kids will still be kids – and kids look for shortcuts. Shortcuts when operating equipment often lead to tragic results – never take for granted your child knows better.”
Here are some tips to be sure you, your family, or your families should keep in mind when operating farm machinery:
- Make sure operators are physically and mentally fit when operating tractors. It is common for farmers and ranchers to be fatigued and stressed and other things such as medication, alcohol and drugs can factor into an unsafe driver. Encourage breaks to refresh the body and mind!
- Be sure the tractors are equipped with a rollover protective structure (ROPS) and seat belts.
- When tractor is stopped, set brakes securely and use park lock.
- Shut off motor during refueling.
- When dismounting tractors turn off the engine, remove the key and wait for all moving parts to stop.
- Never attempt to by-pass start a tractor. It may be in gear and drive the person in front of the wheel.
- Do not take passengers. There is only one seat available on the tractor and it is for the driver.
- Carry out regular safety inspections of equipment and facilities. Make necessary repairs and keep guards and shielding on.
- Develop a work or farm safety plan tailored to your operation, your family, and your employees.
- If operating the machine on public roads, make sure that the tractor has laps, reflectors, and a slow-moving vehicle emblem. It is also necessary to have the appropriate lights and reflectors that are required by state law when driving the tractor on public roads one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise.
- Be properly trained to operate the machinery and familiar with the operator’s manual.
- Perform a safety check before operating.
- Before starting the machinery and while operating, be sure to check your surroundings looking for immovable obstacles, animals, and humans.
Manufacturers are continually improving the design of tractors to make them safer. However, they are unable, as yet, to build in mechanisms which recognize unsafe conditions. Tractor operators who know their machine and are aware of the hazards which may occur, are better equipped to avoid a tractor mishap.
Watch Farm Bureau's Tractor Safety Video here.