Before taking equipment out to the fields this spring, take time to inspect farm machinery for safety, and make repairs and upgrades as necessary, advises John Slocombe, farm safety specialist with Kansas State University.

Here are some items to pay particular attention to:

  • Check safety signs and emblems on equipment — especially those stickers containing important safety messages from the manufacturer. Over time, they become difficult to read. He suggests that farmers replace worn-out stickers with new ones that they can obtain from their equipment dealers.
  • Clean and check lights and reflectors on powered machines and trailing equipment. Replace light bulbs and reflectors as needed.
  • Make sure there is a safety chain and safety hitch-pin on all equipment that will be towed.
  • Inspect the power-take-off shield and all other guards to make sure they are securely in place and not damaged. Repair or replace all damaged or missing guards.
  • Check for damage to seat belts and roll-over-protection structures. Repair or replace them if there  is damage. To work properly, the seat-belt latch must “click” when it is fastened. A seat belt must be used with ROPS-equipped tractors.

According to the National Safety Council, the ROPS/seat-belt combination is about 99 percent effective in preventing death from a tractor roll over. If your tractor doesn’t have a ROPS and a seat belt, now would be a good time to have it retrofitted with this life-saving equipment.