Safety is an all-day, every day of the year consideration. Take special note of farm safety this week, as Sept. 20 to 26 is National Farm Safety and Health Week.
One group who is working to heighten farm safety awareness is the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Here are some of their initiatives.
- Roll-Over Protective Structures (ROPS): As part of its continuing safety promotion work, AEM is developing operator education strategies about the value and safety that ROPS structures and seat belt use provide.
- Common Lighting and Marking on Farm Equipment and Vehicles: AEM supports efforts toward a National Agricultural Lighting and Marking law. This would create uniform provisions for a high level of safety and compliance for all agricultural equipment that travels on U.S. highways, as defined in the ANSI/ASAE S279 standard.
- Power-Take-Off Adaptors: AEM has developed a guidance letter that cautions against the use of Power-Take-Off (PTO) adaptors that have the potential to over-speed a tractor-driven implement that is not designed for high-speed rotation.Educating farm equipment operators and retailers about this potential will help prevent death or personal injury caused by flying parts and debris, product damage, and/or implement malfunction.
- Pictorial Database: AEM developed a pictorial database used to communicate consistent hazards and their avoidance messages.
- Safety Zone at AG CONNECT EXPO: As a key part of the total Ag exposition, AEM is working with the Progressive Agriculture Foundation to coordinate a "safety zone" at AG CONNECT Expo 2010. Universities and safety organizations will exhibit in a common area at the show with interactive safety exhibits and an emphasis on children safety programs.
Kubota lists its Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety
- Know your tractor, its implements and how they work. Please read and understand the Operator's Manual(s) before operating the equipment. Also, keep your equipment in good condition.
- Use ROPS and seatbelt whenever and wherever applicable. If your tractor has a foldable ROPS, fold it down only when absolutely necessary and 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.)
- Be familiar with your terrain and work area – walk the area first to be sure and drive safely. Use special caution on slopes, slow down for all turns and stay off the highway whenever possible.
- Never start an engine in a closed shed or garage.
Exhaust gas contains carbon monoxide, which is colorless, odorless – and deadly.
- Always keep your PTO 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.
- Keep your hitches low and always on the drawbar. Otherwise, your tractor might flip over backwards.
- Never get off a moving tractor or leave it with its engine running. Shut it down before leaving the seat. A runaway tractor can be extremely dangerous.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The National Education Center for Agriculture Safety estimates there are more than 100 farm-related deaths to children each year and that most die in incidents involving tractors and other heavy equipment. The Progressive Agriculture Safety Day is in its 15th year, and the program will conclude more than 350 Safety Day events in 2009, spanning 35 states, six Canadian provinces, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa. In 2008, the programs reached more than 84,000 children and adults in rural communities, and to date has touched the lives of more than 740,000 participants.