ArticlesA Guide To Farm Tractor Safety

A Guide To Farm Tractor Safety

Tractors are essential farm vehicles – but they also present extreme safety hazards when operated incorrectly. You’ve heard the stories of people being killed in a rollover, being run over, or getting entangled in machinery. While you may think it won’t happen to you, it’s usually the people with that mentality that are the most accident-prone. So keep the following tips in mind to safely operate your tractor with peace of mind.

Read the Operator’s Manual

You may think it’s unnecessary to read the operator’s manual if you know how your tractor works. However, the manual contains important information about your model that you may not have learned in training. Plus, you can prevent costly damages by learning about the vehicle. So when reading, the main things to remember are parts, maintenance needs, and repairs. 

Roll-Over Protection Structure

Modern tractors are usually equipped with a Roll-Over Protection Structure (ROPS), protecting the driver from injury or death in a dangerous roll-over. If yours doesn’t have one, you should consider having one fitted onto your tractor or trading yours in to buy a newer model. However, the ROPS won’t work unless you are wearing your seatbelt. So make sure you’re utilizing the entire system for ultimate safety. 

Maintenance

Keeping your tractor clean and properly maintained is essential for its longevity and safety. Learning how to wash your tractor correctly can go a long way in keeping it in top condition. You’ll avoid rusting, dirt build-up, and time-consuming clogs by doing so. 

On top of keeping it clean, check your oil levels often, keep it lubed up, and perform daily inspections to ensure all components are running smoothly. Changing your oil every six months can prevent overworking the engine. However, if you live in an incredibly dusty area, you’ll need to perform maintenance and cleaning on your tractor more often.

No Passengers Allowed

The ROPS is meant to protect the driver, and having someone ride on the side of the tractor poses a significant threat to both of you. Not only are you messing up the weight system, but you’re increasing your chances of a roll-over when you have others riding a tractor that was meant for one person. If the other workers need a way to get around the farm, consider investing in ATVs for easy navigation.

Safety Attachments

Working in direct sunlight and extreme heat can be dangerous. So it’s essential to do everything you can to keep yourself safe and comfortable on the job. For example, consider a John Deere tractor canopy to provide shade on a hot day. It also doubles as a ROPS, so you have two safety features in one product. 

On top of the adequate shade, you should have water within reach. If your tractor doesn’t have cup holders, buy some. Additionally, you must drink water frequently and spray yourself with a water fan before taking an indoor break if you feel like you’re overheating.

Driving on Hillsides

Steep slopes present a more significant roll-over hazard for tractors. While it’s best to avoid driving on hillsides, since some properties are not even close to flat – so it may be necessary at times. Therefore, you should practice safe driving methods. For example, only drive up and down a hill. Never drive across, as this is how you can tip sideways easily. 

Never Leave the Tractor Running

Leaving the tractor running is a big no-no. If you store your tractor in a garage, make sure you never leave it running indoors to prevent carbon monoxide build-up. You also shouldn’t leave it running outdoors. Many people accidentally shift the tractor’s gears as they leave the vehicle, which can often lead to costly property damages or injuries. 

Keep an Eye on Your Surroundings

Keep your eye out to prevent others from being injured, especially young children who don’t care to stay a safe distance as they’re told. Before you let anyone onto your farm, let them know to stay away from anyone operating a tractor. If they need to speak with the person on the vehicle, they should wave them down from a distance. 

Training

It would be irresponsible to allow someone who isn’t adequately trained to operate a tractor. So you should ensure that all farmhands have received training beforehand. However, if you are a family business, you need to set aside time to teach your kids how to drive safely. In addition, frequently update all employees on safety practices throughout the year to keep their memories fresh.

Conclusion

Safe farm tractor operation is not something to take lightly. However, when you are careless with such a dangerous vehicle, you put your life and your employees’ lives at risk. So keep your tractor equipped with proper safety structures, wear your seatbelt, and stay vigilant of your surroundings when driving. When you’re careful, you can significantly reduce the chances of injury or death. 

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