Harvest is in full swing, which means farmers nationwide are busy. Fatigue and risk of injury can rise for tractor operators logging extra hours in the fields. So, make it a priority to brush up on 10 critical safety reminders.
“At Kubota, we advocate for safe operating practices year-round, but especially during peak seasons like harvest,” says Greg Embury, vice president of sales and marketing of Kubota Tractor Corporation. “We want to remind everyone who operates tractors and heavy equipment – farmers, ranchers and their families – about tractor safety to help prevent serious injury or fatality due to an unfortunate accident.”
It starts with the Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS). According to the National Safety Council, if all tractors were equipped with a ROPS and a safety belt, about 350 lives would be saved each year. Make sure your tractor – old and new – has a fully operational ROPS. Along with a fastened seatbelt, ROPS provides a protective zone around the operator, which proves to be highly effective in preventing serious injury and death due to tractor rollovers.
Here are other important reminders for a year-round commitment to safe operating practices:
1. Know your tractor, its implements and how they work. Read and understand the Operator's Manual(s) before operating equipment, and keep equipment in good condition.
2. Use ROPS and a seatbelt whenever and wherever applicable. If your tractor has a foldable ROPS, fold it down only when absolutely necessary. Fold it up and lock it again as soon as possible. Do not wear the seatbelt when the ROPS is folded.* Most tractor fatalities are caused by overturns. (*Kubota Tractor Corporation strongly recommends the use of ROPS and seatbelts in almost all applications.)
3. Be familiar with your terrain and work area; walk the area first 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. Exhaust gas contains carbon monoxide, which 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, particularly 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 the engine running. Shut it down before leaving the seat.
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 at all times. Children are generally attracted to tractors and the work they do. However, a tractor's work is not child's play. Remember, a child's disappointment is fleeting, while your memory of his or her injury or death resulting from riding the tractor with you, or being too close, will last a lifetime.
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.
Additional safety information, including Kubota’s “10 Commandments of Tractor Safety” brochure, Kubota’s “Hazard Hunt” game, and a tractor safety coloring book, can be found at online.
Owners of older model Kubota tractors can also utilize a ROPS and Seatbelt Installation function on the Kubota.com safety pages that allows owners to submit their tractor’s model and serial number for eligible models to obtain retrofit pricing from their local Kubota dealer. Contact your local dealer for more information on ROPS retrofits for older tractor models. Major tractor manufacturers have special programs where a ROPS can be obtained for most tractors manufactured since 1970. To date, Kubota dealers throughout the country have installed more than 10,000 retrofits.
Source: Kubota Tractor Corp.