Evaluation of Mechanical Tractor Pedal Extensions

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Kelso, Sarah A.;
  • Mann, Danny D.;
  • Stangherlin, Alexia M.


Many farmers with disabilities choose to modify their work environments to accommodate their personal abilities; however, modified tractors may present greater risk to the operator as they are often one-of-a-kind designs that have not been subjected to rigorous safety testing. The objective of this research was to evaluate mechanical tractor pedal extensions from a safety perspective. This objective was achieved by identifying potential hazards associated with the introduction of a pedal extension into the cab environment so that both existing and novel designs could be compared using a common methodology. Based on review of the published literature, 19 potential hazards associated with the introduction of a pedal extension into the cab of a tractor were identified. A hazard self-assessment worksheet (HSAW), created based on the 19 hazards, was validated through a pilot study. The overall inter-rater reliability and concurrent criterion validity proved to be acceptable. With the use of the HSAW, six pedal extensions (three existing designs and three novel designs) were evaluated by 14 experts. Statistical analysis of the results did not identify a "best" design; however, several important trends were observed. Four of the six designs tended to block access to the exit path. The two designs that did not block access to the exit path might be considered to be the best designs for the tractors used in this study, but other designs likely would have been acceptable if they had been custom-fit for these tractors. The results of this research suggest that custom fabrication of pedal extensions for each specific tractor will likely yield the safest work environment for those who choose to use this assistive technology.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
Access this publication at: ASABE Technical Library

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