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Did you know that the humble tractor is involved in over 800 fatal accidents on United States farms each year? The number of tractor related injuries is even more staggering, 9,000. For a relatively simple piece of heavy equipment to be involved in so many injuries and fatalities is unacceptable. Here at Associated Training Services we take the view that most accidents are avoidable and we firmly believe that if people follow tractor safety guidelines, the number of fatalities and injuries will decrease.
A Utah State University publication titled, “The Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety” is definitely worth reading if you own or operate a tractor. Some gems of wisdom that the document offers include:
ROPSâ€”Most tractor accidents are overturns (mostly sideways). They are usually caused by high speed or inattention. The development and use of Roll-Over Protective Structures (ROPS) during recent years has saved many lives. They normally will limit the overturn to 90 degrees while at the same time provide a frame of safety for the operator. Seat belts are an integral part of ROPS and should always be used.
While clearance can be an issue in some orchard situations, ROPS is a tractor safety addition that is recommended whenever practical.
Check the Work Areaâ€”Know in advance where hidden ditches, large rocks or stumps are located. Be wary of tall grassâ€”it can cover hazards. Be sure the area is clear of livestock and children.
We could not have said it better ourselves. Realistically, how long does it take to perform a quick bit of reconnaissance of the work area? Look for any potential hazards and remember, just because an area was safe a week ago does not mean that it will be safe for your tractor tomorrow. Always take the time to stop and check before you start work.
Here at Associated Training Services we take tractor and heavy equipment safety very seriously; if you have any questions about these or any other topics, please feel free to contact us.