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The purpose of having a tractor safety program is to provide injury prevention for tractor operations. Procedures and policies will include hazard assessments, equipment surveillance and monitoring, job hazard analyses (JHAs), and applicable training. Additional information on types of protective devices to be used and worn is also included.
Power Take Off (PTO)
The power take off is the portion of the machine with rotating torque to power equipment, such as blades and brush hogs.
Rollover Protection System (ROPS)
A rollover protection system is attached to a tractor to prevent it from rolling over greater than 90 degrees, which prevents the driver from being crushed under the tractor.
A dead-man switch is a device that automatically turns off the tractor and attached devices if the driver leaves the driver’s seat.
Follow manufacturer recommendations in the operation manual to set up a daily maintenance routine. Place the routine on a checklist for daily use before tractor operation. Check the brakes, tire pressures, fan belts, engine oil, hydraulic oil, and all other fluid levels. Check for leaks using other materials like cardboard instead of your hands. Turn the engine off and let it cool before refueling. Prior to performing tractor maintenance, a lockout/tagout policy should be enforced.
Rollover Protection System (ROPS)
The majority of accidents and injuries from tractors are from rollovers. These can be caused by high speed or inattention to the surrounding environment. ROPS help prevent injuries and fatalities by limiting the roll to 90 degrees. Tractors without a ROPS should be retrofitted with one. Seatbelts should also be worn at all times.
Guarding for pieces of machinery, such as the PTO, should be in place to protect employee contact. Other types of machinery that need guarding include cotton gins, farm field equipment, and farmstead equipment.
Fire extinguishers, flares, a first-aid kit, and a tool kit should be outfitted to the tractor. These should be securely fastened to the tractor.
Tractor Operation Rules
- Use rollover protection system and a seatbelt.
- Keep steps and operator’s platform free from ice, mud, debris, or any other type of slip/fall hazard.
- Clear the area of bystanders prior to starting the engine or moving the tractor.
- Mount and dismount the equipment using three points of contact.
- Dress properly; do not wear loose clothing as it may be caught in moving parts. Wear hearing protection, safety glasses, and other PPE.
- Dress appropriately for the weather. Stay hydrated at all times.
- Start and run tractors in an open well-ventilated area to prevent carbon monoxide exposure. Carbon monoxide is a potentially deadly colorless and odorless gas.
- Adjust the seat and seatbelt so you can reach the pedals, steering wheel, and all controls.
- Never allow extra riders on the tractor.
- Be familiar with your terrain and use caution on slopes and turns.
- Keep your PTO guarded.
- Never leave a tractor while it is still running. Runaway tractors pose other hazards.
- Refuel with the engine off and cool.
- Only one person should be allowed on a tractor at all times, unless otherwise designed for more by the manufacturer. This means there is a seat and seatbelt for each person installed by the manufacturer.
- Use appropriate hitch points to prevent rolling.
- Hitch towed loads to the drawbar only.
- Hitch and unhitch attachments and implements on level ground.
- Do not operate machinery if you are tired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.