Tractors are safe to use if operated correctly. However, safety issues are still a major concern as tractor injuries or deaths are still the biggest danger of farm work. The tractors are designed for use only by adults of the right mindset. Children or people operating under hard substances should not use the tractor. Incorrect use of tractors can cause falls, run over people or animals, and rollovers. However, other occurrences are not as a result of carelessness since there are incidents such as equipment hitch, power take-offs, and unavoidable accidents.
Farmworkers of all ages can fall off the tractor. Some fall risk from tractors is caused by health conditions, or drivers operating under medications or hard drugs. Falls are the most common tractor accidents among farmworkers. The falls can cause serious injuries such as dislocation, broken bones, and deaths. Treatment costs for these injuries are high, and you might not get insurance cover. Simple safety measures are very important in reducing these falls. You should ensure you put on seat belts, avoid moving on uneven grounds, install handrails on the tractor, and avoid all trip and slip hazards.F
Tractor overturning incidents are a major safety concern for farm operators. A tractor rollover can cause serious injuries, including crushing, broken bones, and damage to equipment. These injuries are preventable by major safety precautions. You should ensure your tractor is equipped with a rollover protective structure (ROPS). Proper use of a ROPS makes them 99 percent effective at preventing death or serious injury from a rollover incident. Use ROPS in conjunction with a seat belt to keep the tractor in the protective zone; hence, protect you from rollovers. You can also prevent your tractor from overturning by understanding the cause and ensuring you follow all safety practices.
Tractor runovers are also not new in farms and considered one of the major safety concerns. Some tractors are made in a way that the driver can reach the ignition switches from the ground. Farmworkers can be so careless as to start the tractor while standing next to it. This causes the tractor to start moving before the driver can climb up and sit on the operating seat. When this happens, the machine can easily run over the driver and other people standing nearby because it will have no one controlling it. You should ensure you climb the tractor, put on your safety belt, and a seat on the operating machine before switching on the ignition.
Unguarded Power Take-Offs
It is dangerous and illegal to operate any unguarded machine. Power take-off (PTO) shafts are the cause of severe injuries among farmers and other people near the tractor. PTO shafts rotate at a very high speed of between 540 rpm to 1,000 rpm. That is equivalent to around 9 to 16 rotations per second. When your limb gets caught in the shaft rotating at this speed, it will be pulled and wrapped around a PTO several times before you can react. This can cause several injuries such as cuts, contusions, dislocations, broken bones, etc. All moving machines should be guarded to protect clothes, hair, fingers, and limbs from getting caught. You should have no contact with the rotating parts. Failure to guard the tractor shafts when operating will not only lead to severe accidents but also prosecution.
Any tractor collision can be very dangerous and can cause serious injuries and equipment damage. Tractor collisions can happen with other motor vehicles, trees, or any objects on the path of the tractor. Some of these incidences are caused by careless driving or putting objects on the path of the tractor. You can avoid tractor collisions by ensuring the machine you’re operating is in good condition, you’re in the right state of mind, and no other vehicle or object is on the way of the tractor.
Weather hazards such as heavy rainfall can cause serious tractor accidents or even damage. Your tractor can get stuck in the mud; hence, causing several equipment damages. The muddy or slippery ground can also cause the tractor to slip and rollover, which can cause serious injuries to the operator. Always ensure you check the weather and confirm that it’s safe to operate a tractor in it. If it’s too wet or too muddy, don’t take the tractor out there.
Equipment faulty can cause risk to farmers and equipment operators. While, in most cases, there is no one to blame for the tractor’s failure, sometimes this can happen if you fail to take your tractor for regular mechanical maintenance. Operating defective machinery is very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. Ensure you take your tractor to the mechanic for regular maintenance and check that all the parts are working perfectly before you start operating it.
Fluid leaks are also common tractor safety concerns that you should watch out for before operating it. Leaking fluids can cause breakdowns and fire hazards. Puddles or drops of fluid indicate fluid leaks under the tractor. Always ensure you check the fuel level, oil level, and coolant level every morning before you start the equipment. If you run low on these fluids, your tractor can suffer engine failure or loss of power, which can endanger your life.
Electrocution is a rare safety hazard but still happens to tractor operators and can cause serious injuries or death. When your tractor comes into contact with electricity, you can easily get electrocuted. You should take precautions when working near a power source. Identify any buried electricity lines before digging holes and avoid any exposed power lines.
Tractor accidents are avoidable if you follow all the safety precautions and operation instructions. All tractors must have rollover protection, and drivers should always use safety belts. Additionally, passengers or inexperienced tractor operators should not operate the tractor. Make sure that you get trained and authorized personnel to perform regular tractor maintenance. Doing these things will help you to prevent tractor accidents and will help to keep your workers safe.
Here’s another article you might enjoy: Should I Apply for Workers’ Comp?