Agriculture has inherent dangers, with 28.7 deaths per 100,000 adult workers, according to the National Safety Council. As this year's busy fall harvest season gets underway, all tractor and equipment users are reminded to heed these statistics and renew their emphasis on safety in observance of the NSC's National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 20-26, 2009. Safety precautions for operating tractors and other equipment can go a long way toward reducing injuries or death.
Greg Embury, vice president, Kubota Tractor Corporation, says safety is a year-round priority "The start of harvest season is a good time to remind everyone who operates tractors and heavy equipment – farmers, ranchers and their families – about tractor safety. A small amount of time committed to following safe equipment operation now can prevent serious injury or fatality due to an unfortunate accident in the future."
Make sure all tractors – old as well as new– have fully operational rollover protective structures. The operation of a tractor equipped with rollover protection and a fastened seatbelt, is considered to be highly effective in preventing serious injury and death due to tractor rollovers. According to the NSC, if all tractors were equipped with a rollover protective structures and a safety belt, about 350 lives would be saved each year.
"Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety" for review this harvest season:
1. Know your tractor, its implements and how they work. Please read and understand the operator's manual before operating the equipment. Also, keep your equipment in good condition.
2. Use rollover protective structures and seatbelt whenever and wherever applicable. Most tractor fatalities are caused by overturns. If your tractor has a foldable ROPS, fold it down only when absolutely necessary and fold it up and lock it again as soon as possible. Do not wear the seatbelt when the ROPS is folded.
3. Be familiar with your terrain and work area – walk the area first to be sure and drive safely.
Use special caution on slopes, slow down for all turns and stay off the highway whenever possible.
4. Never start an engine in a closed shed or garage. Exhaust gas contains carbon monoxide, which is colorless, odorless – and deadly.
5. Always keep your PTO properly shielded. Make it a habit to walk around your tractor and PTO driven implement – never walk over, through or between the tractor and implement, particularly if either is running. The PTO rotates with enough speed and strength to kill you.
6. Keep your hitches low and always on the drawbar. Otherwise, your tractor might flip over backwards.
7. Never get off a moving tractor or leave it with its engine running. Shut it down before leaving the seat. A runaway tractor can be extremely dangerous.
8. Never refuel while the engine is running or hot. Additionally, do not add coolant to the radiator while the engine is hot; hot coolant can erupt and scald.
9. Keep all children off and away from your tractor and its implements at all times. Children are generally attracted to tractors and the work they do. However, a tractor's work is not child's play.
10. Never be in a hurry or take chances about anything you do with your tractor. Think safety first, then take your time and do it right.
The National Education Center for Agriculture Safety estimates there are more than 100 farm-related deaths to children each year and that most die in incidents involving tractors and other heavy equipment. The Progressive Agriculture Safety Day, now in its 15th year, will conclude more than 350 Safety Day events in 2009, spanning 35 states, six Canadian provinces, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa. In 2008, the programs reached more than 84,000 children and adults in rural communities, and to date has touched the lives of more than 740,000 participants.
Additional safety information, including the "Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety" brochure can be found at www.kubota.com.
Source: Kubota Tractors