Safe to Operate: Tractor Safety Checklist

National Safety MonthObserved annually in June, National Safety Month focuses attention on reducing the leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in homes and communities. To recognize National Safety Month, many Farm Bureaus focus on ways to make our work and home lives safer for all. Join Farm Bureau, along with the National Safety Council and thousands of other organizations across the country, to help raise awareness of what it takes to stay safe.

Accident prevention must be a top priority on farms today, especially when operating machinery like farm tractors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 750 farm workers are accidentally killed each year, and more than half of these fatalities are tractor related.1

CaseIH_Logo_rgb_hires“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of staying alert and following your equipment manufacturer’s guidelines for safe operation,” says Dan Danford, Case IH PR & Sponsorships Manager. “Case IH agricultural equipment is designed and built with safety in mind, but in the end it’s up to the operator to ensure the equipment is in good condition and utilized safely.”

Danford and his teammates at Case IH strive to prevent accidents and injuries related to tractor use.

“Our goal is zero on-farm fatalities,” Danford said. “We can reach this goal by working together to ensure safe practices.”

What measures do you take to ensure your tractors and other equipment are safe to operate? Take control of your own safety by performing regular tractor inspections. The following tractor safety checklist, provided by the AgriLife Extension of the Texas A&M System, can help you determine whether your tractor is in proper condition for operation.

1. Roll-over Protection Structure (ROPS). Is the tractor equipped with a ROPS in good condition?

Tractor rollovers are the deadliest type of injury incident on farms in the United States.2 Even veteran drivers are at risk of rollovers; experienced operators are involved in 80 percent of all tractor rollovers, according to Penn State Extension.2

Fortunately, the use of ROPS and a seat belt is estimated to be 99 percent effective in preventing death or serious injury in the event of a tractor rollover.2 Protect yourself and your workers by ensuring your ROPS is in good condition. It should be replaced if the tractor has rolled over or if the ROPS has more than minor damage.

Case 12. Guards/Shields. Are guards and shields including the master Power Take-Off (PTO) shield in place and securely fastened?

Repair or replace loose, broken, or missing shields before operating the tractor. If missing guards or shields expose an operating PTO, operators are at risk for entanglement around the spinning shaft.

Case 23. Seat safety switch. Is the seat safety switch connected and functional to prevent the tractor from being “jump started” from the ground?

These safety devices require the tractor operator to be sitting in the seat before the tractor will start, thus preventing tractor run-over accidents. Tractor run-overs are the second most frequent cause of tractor-related deaths on farms.

4. Brake system. Are the brakes properly adjusted and the fluid level correct?

Poorly maintained and maladjusted brakes prohibit safe driving up and down hills, on curved paths, and on public roadways. Make sure left and right brakes can be locked together during high-speed highway travel.

5. Tire pressure. Is the air pressure in each tire appropriate according to the tire manufacturer’s recommendations?

Inflation requirements can be located on the outside of the tire around the rim or in the tractor’s operator manual. Also, check the tires for major cuts and cracks.

Case 36. Lights/signals. Are all headlights, flashers, and brake lights working correctly, clean, and visible to other drivers?

Farm tractors are required to have two forward facing headlights and a red taillight that burns continuously. This taillight must be visible from 500 feet under normal conditions and mounted on the far left side of the tractor. This taillight must be visible from 500 feet under normal conditions and mounted on the far left side of the tractor.

Case 47. Hydraulic system. Are all hydraulic hoses and connections free from leaks and hydraulic levels correct?

Be sure to check the front-end loader and the three-point hitch hydraulic systems under load situations. Failure to detect hydraulic leaks can result in serious injuries to operators and bystanders when front-end loaders and implements lose energy and fall.

Case 58. Steering system. Does the tractor steer and react properly when negotiating turns and roading? Is the steering fluid level correct?

Tractors that have a tendency to pull to the left or right are more susceptible to accidents while roading. Poor steering may also signal uneven tire pressure, tire damage, and/or problems with the brake system.

Case 69. Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblem. Does the tractor have a clean SMV emblem located at the rear of the tractor that is visible to other drivers?

Maintain SVM emblems. Exposure to sunlight causes the reflective material to fade, reducing its effectiveness.

10. Cleanliness. Are the steps and cab area free from mud, dirt, ice, oil, or any other combustible object or fluid?

Excessive mud, dirt and ice will reduce traction on mounting steps, potentially causing the operator to fall from the tractor. Spilled fuel, oil and grease can cause poor traction in the operator’s station and pose a substantial fire hazard.

Case 711. Fire extinguisher. Is the tractor equipped with at least one 10-pound fire extinguisher securely fastened inside the cab or operator’s station?

Optimally, two fire extinguishers should be mounted: one fastened inside the cab or operator’s station, and one mounted so that it may be accessed from the ground. Invert the extinguishers once or twice a season, and shake them to ensure the powder inside the extinguisher hasn’t compacted with tractor vibration over time.

12. First aid kit. Is the tractor equipped with a first aid kit securely fastened inside the cab or operator’s station?

At a minimum, kits should include an assortment of bandages, gauze, antiseptics, disposable rubber gloves (various sizes), and empty plastic bags of various sizes.

Farm Bureau members in participating save $500 per unit on Case IH Maxxum® tractors, Farmall® C and U series utility and 100A series tractors, self-propelled windrowers and large square balers. A $300 per unit incentive is available for Case IH compact Farmall® B and C series tractors, Case IH Scout® utility vehicles and other hay tools, including round balers, small square balers, disc mower conditioners and sickle mower conditioners. Combine the Farm Bureau incentive with other discounts, promotions, rebates, or offers that may be available from Case IH or a Case IH dealer. Case IH and your Farm Bureau are working together to make your off-road experience both safe and economical.

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1. Smith, David W. “Is Your Tractor Safe?” Extension Safety Program, Texas A&M System. http://agsafety.tamu.edu/files/2011/06/IS-YOUR-TRACTOR-SAFE1.pdf

2. Buckmaster, Dennis R.; Murphy, Dennis J. “Rollover Protection for Farm Tractor Operators.” Penn State Extension. July, 2014. http://extension.psu.edu/business/ag-safety/vehicles-and-machinery/tractor-safety/e42

Invest in the Right Tools for Safety

National Safety Month

Observed annually in June, National Safety Month focuses attention on reducing the leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in homes and communities. To recognize National Safety Month, many Farm Bureaus focus on ways to make work and home lives safer for all. Join Farm Bureau, along with the National Safety Council and thousands of other organizations across the country, to help raise awareness of what it takes to stay safe.

grainger-logoKeeping people safe is a critical job in the work-force. Identifying and eliminating safety hazards is the first step to help keep yourself and your team safe. An injury, accident or long-term illness could set your operation back, or worse, disable you from being able to perform the daily tasks necessary to maintain it.

Agriculture Department sources, and the National Ag Safety Database, indicate that there is a shortage of statistics and information about agricultural injuries, their specific causes and risk factors. However, data does indicate that farmers tend to have higher rates of respiratory disease, certain cancers, acute and chronic chemical toxicity, dermatitis, musculoskeletal syndromes, noise-induced hearing loss and stress-related mental disorders.

Identifying the Right Safety Tools
If a hazard cannot feasibly be eliminated, basic personal protective equipment, such as eye protection, gloves, protective footwear, chemical protection items and ear plugs are the next step to help protect against short– and long-term safety issues. Farm Bureau is working with Grainger to offer a selection of safety tools and personal protective equipment.

The Grainger Safety Solutions Center at grainger.com/safety can help you identify the right safety solutions and provides information on many other safety-related topics. In addition, Grainger.com offers a Hazard Assessment Form to help you objectively understand your needs. Complete the form and use it as a guide to evaluate your personal protective equipment needs.

Farm Bureau members in participating states save at least 10 percent off Grainger catalog “each” price on personal protective equipment and all other Grainger catalog product offerings, PLUS all Farm Bureau Grainger.com orders qualify for FREE standard ground shipping.

– Check with your state Farm Bureau to register as a Farm Bureau member at Grainger.com.

Fit Like a Glove
Did you know the proper fit of gloves is very important to receive the best protection? Measure around your dominant hand with a tape measure to determine what size of glove will best fit.

You can relate the inch measurement of your hand directly to the numerical size listed for the glove. For example, if the measurement taken is 8 inches, then you would select a size 8 glove. If your measurement is over 8 inches, choose the next size up to avoid hand fatigue.

If the gloves come in lettered sizes such as XS, S, M, L, XL, a conversion chart is available to translate the numerical glove size to lettered sizing.

Keep Your Eyes on the Job
Not wearing eye protection is the most common cause of eye injuries, but wearing the wrong kind of eye protection can also be dangerous.

The most reported eye injuries occur from flying particles and objects, and the second most common eye injuries are a result of accidents from chemical splash. Both types of incidents can be common in agricultural settings.

It is not uncommon for workers to use safety glasses to protect from impact of flying particles and objects. However, if you use the same type of protection for chemical splash or for protection from vapors, you are not protected. When the hazard assessment calls for protection from chemical splash or chemical vapor, goggles should be selected instead.

Right Shoe, Right Size
Protective boots and shoes are sized just like other footwear. However, women’s styles are typically not available. When converting women’s shoe sizes to men’s shoe sizes, simply size down two whole sizes. For example, a women’s shoe size 10 is a men’s shoe size 8.

Another common protective footwear purchase is overshoes and overboots. Overshoes are sized to fit over the shoes being worn underneath and correspond in size with such shoe. For example, a size 10 overshoe will fit over a size 10 shoe.

Riding Off-Road, Staying On-Track For Safety

National Safety Month

Observed annually in June, National Safety Month focuses attention on reducing the leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in homes and communities. To recognize National Safety Month, many Farm Bureaus focus on ways to make work and home lives safer for all. Join Farm Bureau, along with the National Safety Council and thousands of other organizations across the country, to help raise awareness of what it takes to stay safe.

Polaris safety picFor farmers and ranchers, an off-road side-by-side utility vehicle, such as the RANGER from Farm Bureau Member Benefits partner Polaris, is the Swiss Army knife of vehicles; you find yourself using it everywhere. Whether you’re leaving the blacktop behind for family fun and adventure, or meeting the day-to-day needs of your operation, the number one goal of every ride should be to make sure you can do it again tomorrow. That’s what makes off-road vehicle safety such an essential topic.

For ATV riders, it’s important to know your skill level and not exceed your capabilities. This means taking the appropriate training from SVIA (ATVsafety.org) and actively practicing the maneuvers until you can perform them consistently. Every rider needs to remember that ATVs are not designed for wheelies, jumps or stunts. Don’t forget that one machine carries one rider. Never carry a passenger unless the vehicle is designed for tandem riding.

Operating a side-by-side carries the additional responsibility of ensuring the safety of any passengers. Be a responsible driver by operating to the abilities of your passenger, instead of your own, to reduce the chance of accident and injury. While your side-by-side is dependable, remember that carrying tall, unbalanced or unsecured loads can increase the chances of vehicle instability and loss of control. Also, be aware of the towing, payload and box capacity of your vehicle and don’t exceed them. All of this safety information and more can be found at ROHVA.org.

Whether you’re riding a side-by-side or ATV, it is essential to utilize all recommended safety equipment. This includes eye protection, a DOT-approved helmet, over-the-ankle boots, gloves, long sleeves and pants. Also, make sure all factory-installed safety features, such as seatbelts and side nets on side-by-sides, are in good operating condition and utilize them every time you ride.

Your safety is dependent upon yourself. The more you know, the safer you can ride.

Polaris is committed to the safety of their customers and riders. They have created a series of videos that cover the things their customers can do to make every ride as safe as possible. While each presentation is specific to a Polaris model, much of the material presented is good advice for any off-roader. It’s easy to find out more; vehicle-specific safety videos are available online at http://www.polaris.com/en-us/safety.

Farm Bureau members in participating states get $300 per unit off all Polaris utility, sport and GEM electric vehicles. A $200 incentive is available for Polaris ACE and Sportsman all-terrain vehicles. These membership incentives are NOT valid for youth vehicles and cannot be combined with any other Polaris coupon offer. Current sales event pricing and finance offers apply. Polaris and your Farm Bureau are working together to make your off-road experience both safe and economical.