Agricultural Engineering Safety Lesson Plan: Operator Safety - Planting Equipment


To identify precautions and safety tips for the operation of planting equipment.


The operator of planting equipment is confronted with most of the same potential safety problems that face operators of other equipment. While planation operations are not done at excessive speeds nor are there very many high-speed moving parts to get caught in, any operation that is done incorrectly or carelessly has an accident potential.


  1. Row-Crop Planters
  2. General Safety

    1. Always lower the planter to the ground when not in use. Whenever possible, perform service work and adjustments with the planted on the ground.
    2. Be sure to use Jack stands of block when working under the planter to prevent the planter from falling.
    3. Permit only one person--the operator--on the tractor while tractor and planter are in operation.
    4. Cleaning, lubricating, or adjusting a machine that is in motion could cause you to be injured. Walking or standing on the catwalk when the planter is moving could result in a fall.
    5. Handle agricultural chemicals with the proper protective gear. Improper selection or use can injure persons, animals, plants, soils, or other property. Follow instructions of the chemical manufacturer.

    Transporting Safety

    Towing a wide planter on public roads is potentially hazardous because the travel speed is much less than cars and trucks on the road. For proper transport, follow instructions in the operator's manual. Here are a few important guidelines to follow:

    1. Equip machinery with adequate lights, reflectors, and a bright, clean slowmoving-vehicle emblem.
    2. Put the planter in as narrow a configuration as possible. Many wide planters have a special transport position. Some states require a special permit to transport equipment that's more than 8 feet (2.4 meters) wide. Check local and state regulations.
    3. If an integral hitch is used for a double planter, the implement should be transported in tandem.
    4. Use transport links to take the load off the hydraulic cylinder when equipment is moved more than a mile or two.
    5. Use flashing warning lights, unless prohibited by local regulations.
    6. Keep equipment to the right of the center line. It is courteous to pull over when possible to allow cars to pass if oncoming traffic prevents them from using the passing lane.
    7. If the planter must be transported very far, haul it by truck or trailer.

  3. Grain Drills
  4. The following are safety suggestions which must be considered when operating grain drills:

    1. Before filling the seed or fertilizer hoppers, be sure the drill is properly attached to the tractor to prevent the drill from tipping over.
    2. Always lower the grain drill to the ground and shut off the tractor before attempting to service or adjust the grain drill.
    3. Permit no one to ride on the tractor or grain drill.
    4. Permit no one around the grain drill while it is being operated or adjusted.
    5. Reduce tractor speed when operating over rough or uneven ground.
    6. Slow down when traveling down hills. When approaching steep hills, shift into a lower gear to keep the tractor under control. Do not take the transmission out of gear when traveling on hills; you may not be able to get it back into gear.
    7. Avoid sharp turns to prevent drill from catching on tires.
    8. When transporting the drill, be sure to place transporting devices in position and secure them with locking pins.
    9. Keep the slow-moving-vehicle emblem (SMV) clean and properly mounted at all times. This could help avoid a rear-end collision while transporting.
    10. When hitching or unhitching the grain drill, use the parking stands or jacks to safely support the drill until it is securely attached or parked.
    11. Be very careful when working around hydraulic components. Escaping fluid under pressure can have sufficient force to penetrate the skin, causing serious personal injury. Before disconnecting lines, be sure to relieve all pressure. Before applying pressure to the system, be sure all connections are tight and that lines, pipes and hoses are not damaged. Fluid escaping from a very small hole can be almost invisible. use a piece of cardboard or wood, rather that hands, to search for suspected leaks. If injured by escaping fluid, see a doctor at once. Serious infection or reaction can develop id proper medical treatment is not administered immediately.
    12. Always follow safety recommendations in the machine operator's manual.

Source: Fundamentals of Machine Operation - Planting, Deere & Co.

Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service, Manhattan, Kansas.

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