FAST Series for Tractor Drivers: Section One--Training Outline

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The following is a review of our company's safety procedures for tractor drivers. It must be stressed that the company wants your cooperation in following these procedures and to make us aware of any hazard you observe. Do not be timid in reporting hazards or accidents. The company will not take any action against you for telling us about your concerns.


A good worker is a safe worker. Be sure you know the safe way to perform any job given to you. If there is any doubt ask your supervisor.

You are not expected under any circumstances to take unnecessary chances or to work under hazardous conditions without adequate safeguards.

Take special interest in new or inexperienced employees by calling their attention to dangerous practices and by teaching them a safe method of doing their work.

Obey warning signs and tags as they are posted to point out hazards. Horseplay and practical jokes are dangerous and are not tolerated. Safety rules are for your protection. Everyone is asked to live up to the spirit and letter of these rules in order to safeguard all employees.

  • Securely fasten your seat belt if the tractor has a ROPS.
  • Where possible, avoid operating the tractor near ditches, embankments, and holes.
  • Reduce speed when turning, crossing slopes, and on rough, slick, or muddy surfaces.
  • Stay off slopes too steep for safe operation.
  • Watch where you are going, especially at row ends, on roads, and around trees.
  • Do not permit others to ride.
  • Operate the tractor smoothly--no jerky turns, starts, or stops.
  • Hitch only to the drawbar and hitch points recommended by the tractor manufacturers.
  • When the tractor is stopped, set brakes and use park lock if available.
  • Every employee who operates an agricultural or industrial tractor shall be required to check the tractor prior to operation each day and if it is unsafe report the matter immediately to a foreman or mechanic and shall not use the tractor again until it has been made safe.
  • Employees shall be prohibited from stunt driving or horseplay while operating an agricultural or industrial tractor.
  • No repairs shall be performed on any agricultural or industrial trucks until arrangements have been made to reduce the probability of injury to repairmen or others caused by sudden movement or operation of such equipment or its parts.

Keep PTO Guards/Shields in Place

  • An unshielded or partially shielded PTO can catch loose clothing and wrap a person or limb around it in a fraction of a second. The result can maim, cripple or kill.
  • Keep master shield and stub cap in place.
  • Always stop PTO if you must stand near it.

Prevent Tractor Upsets By ...

  • Keep tractors and implements away from irrigation ditches and embankment edges. Edges may be weak and break from weight of equipment.
  • When traveling downhill use lower gears.
  • Backing up a steep hill may increase your stability.
  • Prevent sharp turns and high speeds. High speed, rough ground and narrow wheel settings increase chance of rollover.
  • Always slow down before turning.

Hitch Implements Only to a Drawbar

  • Tractors are designed to tow loads only from rear hitch.
  • Never hitch to axle or seat. A backward upset might occur.
  • Match load to the tractor. Never use a tractor that is too small for the load.
  • Add front weights if necessary.
  • Balance weight of load on trailing implement. This minimizes stress at hitch point.

Tractors are Noisy

  • Wear ear plugs if noise of tractor is loud.
  • When stuck in mud, never chain block to wheel to increase traction. This may result in the rear overturning.
  • When you have to have the tractor towed out use caution.
  • When towing with a nylon rope or cable, a special hazard exists. Making a running start can stress a nylon rope or steel cable to the breaking point. The heavy metal end connections have fail and can snap back toward the towing tractor causing with serious injury or death.

Drive Carefully on Public Roads
  • Use all available safety devices and driving skills such as:
    • Safety hitch pins--Seat belts
    • Slow moving vehicle emblem and mirrors
    • Signal lights Hand signals
    • Reflectors Clearance lights

  • Make sure loads are secured properly.
  • Allow traffic to pass (Pull over to shoulder if possible).
  • Keep tractor and equipment in your lane and near the shoulder.

When Getting On or Off the Tractor, Remember the Following Points ...
  • Never mount of dismount while tractor is still moving.
  • Keep all handle hoods, mounting steps and operator's platform clean and dry.
  • Do not jump from the tractor.
  • No bypass starting of tractor is allowed. Could cause death or injury.
  • Report all accidents and injuries to supervisor immediately.
  • Report any equipment needing repair to supervisor.

This document was extracted from the FELS Ag Safety Training Series for Tractor Drivers.

Farm Employers Labor Service; 1601 Exposition Blvd., FB-17, Sacramento, CA 95815-5103; Ph#: (916) 924-4124.

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. More