Agriculture is a dangerous business, with 28.7 deaths per 100,000 adult workers, according to the National Safety Council. As this year’s busy harvest season progresses all tractor and equipment users are reminded to heed safety precautions.

“Safety is a year-round priority,” says Greg Embury, vice president, Kubota Tractor Corporation.

Make sure all tractors — old and new — have fully operational rollover protective structures. Operating a tractor equipped with rollover protection and a fastened seatbelt is considered to be effective in preventing serious injury and death due to rollovers. According to NSC, if all tractors were equipped with rollover protective structures and a safety belt, about 350 lives would be saved annually. So here are 10 areas worth reviewing:

  1. Know your tractor, the implements and how they work. Read and understand the operator’s manual before operating the equipment, and keep equipment in good condition.
  2. Use rollover protective structures and a seatbelt whenever and wherever applicable. If your tractorhas a foldable ROPS, fold it down only when absolutely necessary, restore it 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 familiarize yourself 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. Carbon monoxide in exhaust gas is colorless, odorless and deadly.
  5. Always keep your power-take-off 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, especially 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 you leave the seat. As you can imagine, 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. Children are intrigued by tractors, but it’s 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.

Read the “10 Commandments of Tractor Safety” brochure.