This week is National Farm Safety & Health Week, taking place September 19 to 25. The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety leads the effort for the week, has been an annual promotion since 1944.
For 2010, the theme is ATVs: Work Smart. Ride Safe to highlight the safe operation of ATVs across the countryside.
But the week also aims to remind everyone of farm safety practices across the farmstead, including tractor operation.
Here’s Kubota’s 10 Commandments of Tractor Safety
1. 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.
2. Use ROPS and seat belt 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 seat belt when the ROPS is folded.
3. 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.
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 PTO properly shielded. Make it a habit to walk around your tractor and PTO driven implement - never 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 its engine running. Shut it down before leaving the seat. 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 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.