Tractors, the Number 1 Cause of Fatalities on the Farm


  1. Using a 5-point check list, the students will identify high-risk areas associated with farm tractors. Students will be able to name five areas of a tractor to check for safety of operation, and be able to tell if they are safe or not.


Farming is now the most dangerous occupation in the United States. Over half of reported farm fatalities are directly related to the tractor. Each year it is estimated that over 300 children are killed on farms. There are two main aspects of tractor safety; one is the equipment on the tractor, the other is the way it is operated. This lesson focuses on the equipment.The farm environment is very healthy and enjoyable, however more education is needed to protect those who have chosen this lifestyle.

  1. Tractor safety checklist
  2. A tractor, or pertinent parts, or pictures of them.

  1. Review equipment terms on tractor checklist to ensure comprehension of task
  2. In groups of 2 or 3, students will complete tractor checklist on an available tractor (or)
  3. If no tractor is available, use parts or pictures to discuss each category so students can take the checklist home and perform the evaluation.
  4. Review the five point checklist to reinforce actual safety features and their purpose.
  5. The sound level meter is used to measure the decibels or loudness at the site of exposure with the various available farm equipment. For example, a tractor at both idle and full throttle, a lawn mower or a chain saw.

  • Encourage students to take extra tractor checklist forms home and apply them to their own farm tractors, and report deficiencies they find.
  • Reuse the checklist in 6 months to assess changes that have been made as a result of this lesson.

  • Apply checklist to family farm equipment or whenever dealing with ag equipment
  • Have students create a worksheet for other hazardous farm related activities, for example: power take-off equipment, feeding equipment, lawn mowers, chain saws, etc.

  • Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) - Is a reflective triangular sign required by law for (farm) vehicles using public highways moving at less than 25 miles per hour. (Must be mounted behind the seat, point up, 2 to 6 feet above the ground, near the center of the vehicle)
  • Power Take-Off (PTO) - a shaft that spins to transfer power from the tractor to the implement behind it. It rotates at a very high speed (540 or 1000 rotations per minute)
  • Master Shield - The three sided guard that is positioned around the PTO stub shaft where it protrudes from the back of the tractor.
  • Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS) - A tractor feature like a roll bar, designed to guard the operator from being crushed in the event of a turnover, safety tested and labeled by OSHA standards. Only effective when used with a seatbelt.



This training curriculum was produced by the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH).

New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, One Atwell Road, Cooperstown, New York 13326. Phone number: (607) 547-6023 or 1-800-343-7527 in the Northeast

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