The vast majority of serious tractor accidents are caused because of inexperienced operators, speed, lack of concentration, gradient, unguarded parts and the poor mechanical condition of the tractor. The first step in trying to prevent accidents is to make sure that the machine is in a sound condition and that the operator has adequate experience to do the job. We’re all busy with lots of important jobs to do around the yard. We should still be able to perform a Five-Minute Check before we begin our work:
- Engine Oil – avoid engine damage
- Transmission Oil – avoid damage
- Tyres – good tyres gives good control
- Steps into cab – to prevent slips and falls
- Hand Brake – prevent the tractor rolling when on an incline
- Hydraulics – equipment collapse
- Clear Cab Floor – so peddles won’t jam
- Clean all Windows – for good visibility
- Brake Pedals Locked Together – brakes pull evenly
- Radiator – prevent overheating
- Lights and Mirrors – visibility
- PTO Protected – PTO must have a guard and the shaft must be covered
Simple human error is a huge factor in the number of farm accidents in Ireland – the operator forgot something, took a shortcut or a risk, ignored a warning, was not paying close attention, failed to follow safety rules or did not maintain the machine in a safe condition. There are many different kinds of farm machinery – mowers, tractors, harvesters, augers, slurry spreaders, balers etc. but they all have similar characteristics and similar hazards.
Competent Drivers should always follow ‘Safe Systems of Work’
- Know all the controls – this is vital to operating safely
- Use the seat belt
- Always 100% concentration – important to keep your mind on the job
- Safely on and off the tractor – good footing, use handhold. Don’t jump
- If you sense any danger, stop the tractor.
- Correct speed – Be cautious and adjust the speed to allow for the conditions at hand
Be familiar with ‘Safe Stop’ practice
This practice will eliminate the majority of unnecessary accidents around the yard. When you are finishing your work on the tractor you should follow these steps:
- Bring the tractor to a stop at a safe place
- Apply the handbrake
- Lower the implements
- Turn the Engine Off
- Remove the key from the ignition
- Exit the cab safely
Do not do any of the following:
- Do not use faulty equipment. Report suspect machinery immediately.
- Never start or operate levers from anywhere other than the seat.
- Do not operate or idle the engine in a non-ventilated area.
- Do not operate near ditches, holes or embankments, which may collapse under the tractor’s weight.
- Do not operate on excessively steep terrain.
- Do not allow any person other than the driver to ride on the tractor.
- Do not dismount while the engine is running unless the tractor has completely stopped, the transmission is in park position and the parking brake is fully engaged.
Let’s farm safely and get home safe at the end of every day.