Tractor safety tips for farmers

With harvest quickly approaching, tractor safety is relevant to farmers across the country. Make sure your tractor has a slow moving vehicle sign, and pay extra attention on the roads and in fields this harvest.

LINCOLN, Neb. — About half of all fatal farm injuries involve tractors, making it a serious safety concern in the agriculture industry.

Aaron Yoder, associate professor of environmental, agricultural and occupational health at the University of Nebraska, spoke about tractor safety during a webinar hosted by AgriSafe.

“When we think about some of the hazards that exist with the tractor, we talk about things like overturns, entanglements, falls and general mechanical hazards that we see around all machinery,” he said.

Most tractor-attributed accidents involve rollovers.

There are two types of rollovers: sideways and rear overturns.

Sideways rollovers are most common, although less likely to be fatal.

Yoder shared tips on preventing rollovers.

Prevent Sideways Rollovers

  • Wide set wheels.
  • Restrict speed according to conditions.
  • Avoid bouncing.
  • Slow down on turns.
  • Use engine braking on downhill grades.
  • Avoid crossing steep slopes.
  • Use caution around ditches.
  • Front loader scoops should be kept low when the tractor is moving.

Prevent Rear Overturns

  • Hitch towed loads only to drawbar.
  • Limit height of 3-point hitch.
  • Use weights for balance if applicable – front-end weights or wheel weights.
  • Start forward motion slowly and change speed gradually.
  • Avoid ditches or obstructions.
  • Use caution going up or down slopes.

Rollover protective structures are designed to limit rollovers to 90 degrees and protect the operator if it goes past 90 degrees

Seatbelts are required for ROPS to be effective.

Other tractor-related accidents may involve falls or run-overs.

“Oftentimes it’s children or extra riders,” Yoder said. “On occasion the operator actually falls off the tractor. This is preventable by wearing a seatbelt, part of a ROPS system, which would keep you on the seat.”

He also advised farmers not to carry extra passengers on tractors.

Learn more about tractor safety at:

Erica Quinlan can be reached at 800-426-9438, ext. 193, or Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Quinlan.


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