is important to be safety conscious when dealing with any
job that requires the use of machinery. Statistics show that
the majority of machinery-related accidents occur as the result
of human negligence. Errors include: taking shortcuts to save
time; failure to read the operator's manual; ignoring a warning;
improper or lack of instruction; failure to follow safety
rules; and improper or lack of maintenance
operation of farm machinery is serious business, and should
be treated as such. To avoid any type of machinery-related injury
strict safety practices must be employed.
operate machinery under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The operator not only puts him/herself in danger but also
anyone who may be working with them or in the general area.
There is never an exception to this rule.
allowing anyone to use a power tool or piece of equipment
whether it be a family member, friend or an employee, the
person should have complete training in the item to be used,
and be made aware of hazards that may occur with its misuse.
Training should be done by a person knowledgeable of that
particular piece of equipment. Besides actual training programs,
manuals should be read from cover to cover.
clothing should be worn during the operation of farm machinery.
Never wear baggy or loose fitting shirts or pants. Loose
clothing is easily caught in rotating machine parts. Once
caught in a moving part, it is almost impossible to escape
machinery is designed for one rider, not two or three. This
rule should be strictly enforced. Research conducted in
Ohio found that 1% of tractor fatalities in that state involved
extra riders; 73% of these victims were under 10 years old.
In 42% of the cases the driver was the father or a brother,
and 24% of the drivers were between the ages of 11 and 158.
not allow anyone to ride on machinery except the driver
because they can easily be thrown or knocked off the vehicle.
should not be allowed to ride in the bucket of loaders,
on tongues between truck/tractor and the implement, or on
any implement being towed. In the instance when a rider
on an implement such as a hay wagon is necessary, extra
precautions should be taken to avoid any injury to this
all people away from work areas and working machinery unless
they are actively involved in the work. Many people are
needlessly injured when watching, simply because they are
unaware that they are in the way of flying debris or the
machine itself. Most are also wearing inadequate protection.
should be shut-down on any piece of equipment that is being
refueled. Employees should be instructed on how to properly
refuel equipment; do periodic maintenance checks on the
tank, pump, hose, nozzle; and to abide by safety rules such
as no smoking when around the fueling area.
parking or leaving a piece of machinery for any length of
time; even to check a malfunction; the motor should always
be shut off, brakes engaged, the transmission in park-lock
or in gear, keys removed and any attachments (in the case
of a baler or mower) disengaged. Numerous people are seriously
injured or killed being run-over by improperly parked tractors,
with or without the engine running.
guards should always be in place when operating any piece
tractors should be equipped with Roll Over Protective Structures
(ROPS). Nearly all tractor flips or rollovers without ROPS
result in fatalities. Most newer tractors come equipped
with a factory installed ROPS. It is important to remember
that not all tractor cabs are ROPS. Some are designed strictly
to shield the operator from the weather. Check with the
tractor manufacturer to determine if the cab is an ROPS
cab. If a tractor without a ROPS is being used, it is suggested
that ROPS be installed. However, a ROPS is not something
thrown together in the machine shed. ROPS need to be properly
designed, manufactured and installed in order to be fully
effective. Contact your local farm equipment dealer for
purchase and installation information.
belts should be worn when operating machinery equipped with
ROPS. Seat belts will keep you within the safety zone of
the ROPS in the case of a flip or roll-over. Even when operating
machinery equipped with an enclosed cab, it is important
to use seat belts to prevent the likelihood of being thrown
out the door, through a window or into the cab frame.
Object Protective Structures (FOPS) should be installed
on equipment where the user runs the risk of being struck
by falling debris. Equipment where this type of structure
may be necessary would be front end loaders. Details regarding
installation would follow the procedures outlined for ROPS
farm equipment traveling on any roadway should be equipped
with an approved Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblem. Emblems
should be placed on all tractors and any implements that
will be towed. Emblems should be in good shape and clean.
Broken, worn or discolored emblems should be replaced.
equipment used on public roadways re-quire lights conforming
to state motor vehicle codes.
because of the high level of noise associated with machinery
it is advisable to develop a system of hand signals to use
during operation. A standardize system of signals has been
developed by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers5.
A copy of these signals is available through ASAE.
implements and attachments should be used in the proper
manner for which they were de-signed, and lowered completely
to the ground when exiting or shutting-down the tractor.
Never over-load wagons.
a piece of equipment becomes clogged or jammed, never attempt
to clean out the blockage until the machine is shut off
and all moving parts come to a complete stop.
tow an implement improperly hitched to a tractor or truck.
Equipment being towed should be hitched directly to the
draw bar with a hitch pin secured in place by a cotter pin.
Do not tow implements with chains, cables or ropes. The
breakage of chains, cables and ropes while towing can cause
severe, even fatal injuries to the driver and bystanders.
The draw-bar on a tractor or the hitch on a truck should
be kept as low as possible. Know the maximum height recommended
by the tractor manufacturer and do no exceed this height.
Never attach equipment to the tractor frame or axle. The
improper balance can cause a back flip-over.
should always be taken into consideration when driving farm
vehicles. When a tractors center of gravity moves behind
the point where the rear tractor wheels are touching the
ground, a flip-over is likely. To prevent tractor roll-over,
avoid driving on steep slopes, through ditches, on extremely
rough ground, or over stumps and large rocks. Do not drive
along the edge of steams or pits. The chance of the bank
collapsing from the weight of the tractor is a high possibility.
W en traveling downhill, always keep the tractor or truck
in gear. Do not free wheel . Seek an alternate route around
potential danger areas. If an alternate route is not possible,
proceed cautiously at slow speeds.
not try to tow loads that are too heavy for the tractor.
Too much towing weight can cause a tractor to become out
of control do to the whipping action of the load.
tractor accidents involve excessive speed. Drive at a speed
appropriate for: 1) the job your are doing; 2) the terrain
over which you are traveling; and 3) the piece(s) of equipment
you are using. Remember to slow down whenever making turns.
traveling on public roadways, obey traffic laws. Many tractor
related accidents occur when traveling on roadways. Within
the last 10 years there has been a sharp increase in the
number of tractor/roadway accidents9. This is
due in part to the increase in auto traffic on rural roads
and the increased need for farmers to have equipment on
the road to get from field to field.
past ten years, the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) has become a
common piece of machinery on numerous farms. Regardless of
its popularity, the ATV is one of the most dangerous and deadly
pieces of equipment. One out of every two ATV fatalities involves
children under the age of 14. In the past five years there
have been over 900 ATV related deaths nation-wide. These unnecessary
deaths and injuries could have been prevented for the most
part by following simple safety rules.
the repair of any machinery, appropriate protective clothing
should be worn. This includes helmets, goggles, gloves,
hearing protection and safety shoes. Do not wear baggy clothing.
Loose fitting clothing easily becomes caught in rotating
machinery should be maintained regularly. Any worn or broken
parts should be replaced immediately, not fixed in a temporary
manner. However, when repairs are done, the machine should
be fixed according to manufacturers specifications.
repairs are made, any guard removed during repair must be
replaced before the equipment is used.
inflation needs to be checked periodically to prevent flats
preparing to work on a piece of equipment, wheels need to
be blocked to prevent movement and any jacks used should
be stable and in good condition.
hitches, safety chains, springs and shackles, should be
inspected regularly for wear, broken or missing parts and
cracks in the welds.
and air lines should be inspected for wear and cracks. Any
indication of damage to these lines should be immediate
grounds for replacement of the line. Caution should be taken
when working on hydraulic systems. Make sure all pressure
in the system is relieved and that the fluid is cool before
loosening any fittings or removing lines. Wear leather or
A Dangerous Industry , Delmarva Farmer, October 10,
Steven and Dennis J. Murphy. 1985. " Agricultural Hand Signals".
Penn State University Cooperative Extension Service Fact
Clinic. " Agricultural Health & Safety Bulletin". 1989.
Michael. Farm Safety Part I. Agway Cooperator Magazine.
Jane. " Its More Dangerous on the Farm" . Hoards Dairyman
Magazine. August 10, 1991.
Mark A. " Fatal Farm Injuries to Children" . Wisconsin Rural
Health Research Center. Marshfield, WI. 1990.
Rollin D. " Safe Tractor Operation". Nebraska Cooperative
Extension EC 89-2103. 1984.
Virginia University Cooperative Extension Service. "Beware
of Farm Machine Hazards" . SA-21.4.
Rural Health Research Center. " A Guide to Tractor Roll
Bars & Other Rollover Protective Structures." 1990.
Publication #: FS620
is apart of
a series from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Rutgers, the
State University of New Jersey. Publication date: February 1992.
Publication date: February 1992.
Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences,
University of Florida, Gainesville FL 32611.
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in
NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in
NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder.