Hand-me-down Hazards: Dangers of Used Equipment

  • Lehtola, Carol;
  • Brown, Charles

The condition of equipment sold at auctions or transferred from person to person varies widely, so it's important to examine used equipment carefully.

When equipment is purchased through a dealership, the purchase usually includes a warranty, directions for maintenance and operation, warning signs, "seals of approval" and assurances that the equipment conforms with voluntary or federal standards.

But regardless of where you buy your equipment, look for items that may detract from safety. They include missing shields and poor upkeep.

A bargain price may not be worth the risks involved. Don't be blinded by a "sale" and end up with equipment for which you didn't bargain.

Ask yourself the following questions when you're buying used equipment.

  • Are operating manuals included?
  • Are shields and guards in place?
  • Is the equipment in decent condition? Breakdowns due to poor maintenance could cause unsafe working conditions.
  • If you're buying a tractor, is it equipped with a ROPS? If it isn't, determine who's responsible for making sure it's installed. Remember, tractors manufactured after October 1976 that are used by employees are required to have ROPS and seat belts per OSHA Standard 1928.51 (Roll-over protective structures (ROPS) for tractors used in agricultural operations).
  • Remember:
  • Safety is the bottom line

For More Information

For more information about tractor safety, visit

the Florida AgSafe Network Web site:


The following publications are available at your county Extension office and at the EDIS Web site, <http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu>. (IFAS Publication Numbers are in parentheses after the titles. The second set of parentheses contains the Web address at which the publication can be viewed.)

Publication #: AE309

1. This document is AE309 , one of a series of the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Supported in part by the NIOSH Deep-South Center for Occupational Health and Safety, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. First published September 2001. Please visit the EDIS Web site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2. Carol J. Lehtola, assistant professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and Extension Agricultural Safety Specialist, and Charles M. Brown, Assistant Coordinator for Agricultural Safety and Health, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences/University of Florida/Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean.

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