The Ten Commandments of tractor safetyBy SPECIAL TO THE PRESS REGISTER,
Farming is one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet, third behind working on the deck of an aircraft carrier and hard-rock mining.
All farm employees, farmers, family and friends to be need to be reminded of the things that will help farming be safer as spring planting gets closer.
• Know your tractor, it implements and how they work: Read the manufacturer’s instruction and operator’s manual; get familiar with the content before operating the equipment. Pay extra attention to the sections on care and maintenance so that the equipment can be maintained in good repair. That way, it will be ready for use when the time is right to use it.
• Use ROPS and seat belt whenever and wherever applicable: If your tractor has a foldable ROPS, fold it down only when absolutely necessary. Fold it out and lock again as soon as possible. In other words, don’t fold it down when it isn’t necessary. When the ROPS is folded down, don’t use the seatbelt. As we have discussed at different times, most tractor fatalities are caused by overturns; thus the reason for no seatbelt when the ROPS is not in use.
• Be familiar with the terrain and work areawalk the area first to be sure that it is safe: Use special caution on slopes, slow down for all turns, and stay off highways whenever possible.
• Do not ever be in a hurry or take chances: Always think safety first, then take your time and do it right.
• Keep your hitches low and always on the drawbar: The tractor could flip backwards.
• Never start an engine in a closed shed or garage: We know that exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide, which is odorless, colorless, and can be deadly.
• Always keep the PTO properly shielded: Make it a habit to walk around your tractor and PTO driven implement - NEVER over, through, or between the tractor and implement, particularly if either is running. Actually, the PTO rotates with enough speed that it could kill you.
• Never leave a tractor engine running or attempt to get off a tractor that is moving: Shut it down before leaving the seat. Can you imagine the danger that a runaway tractor could cause?
• Never refuel while the engine is hot or running: Another tip is that you shouldn’t add coolant to the radiator while it is hot. Hot coolant can burn or scald you.
• Keep all children off and away from your tractor and its implements at all times: Children are naturally attracted to tractors and the work that they do. As we know, a tractor’s work isn’t child’s play. Don’t be alarmed at a child’s disappointment when asked to move from the area of tractor work. We all know that a child’s disappointment or a reprimand only lasts for a little while. It would be good if adults could forget like young kids. Temporary disappointment for a little while is much better that the absence of a lifetime (if they were hurt by the tractor). At the same time, we should take extra precaution to make sure that no one, children or adults, is in the working area of a tractor or other implement.