Two of the biggest tractor hazards and how to avoid them
As temperatures rise, farmers increase their use of machinery to meet seasonal demands. Operating a tractor is crucial for farmers, but it can be risky without proper handling and care. In this article, we'll cover some of the significant safety concerns that farmers face when operating a tractor and discuss how to prevent them. Our tractor safety tips aim to keep you, your tractor, and those around you safe, so you can focus on your work.
After you've taken the necessary steps to operate your tractor safely, keep our tractor maintenance checklist and the OSHA tractor safety checklist as a handy reminder each time you operate your TYM tractor.
The problem: Tractor overturns
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), tractor overturns are the leading cause of fatalities in the agriculture industry, resulting in approximately 130 deaths per year. Tractors have a high center of gravity, making them prone to rolling over, particularly when operating on uneven terrain or steep slopes. Tractor overturn incidents commonly occur when tractors turn on their side or tip over backward. If a rollover or other accident occurs, operators can become trapped or pinned under the tractor. Tractors that are old, in poor condition, and lack safety guards and devices contribute significantly to unsafe or hazardous conditions—especially if they are driven without care.
The solution: Use ROPS, wear seatbelts, and operate with care
The harsh reality is that 80% of deaths caused by tractor overturns involve inexperienced operators. However, with proper tractor safety training and education, overturns can be significantly reduced. An operator's chances of surviving a tractor overturn without serious injury are high if the operator wears a seatbelt and the tractor has a ROPS (rollover protective structures), a roll bar or cage frame that’s designed to protect the operator if a tractor overturns. For older American tractor models without ROPS, they may be eligible for the Cost-Effective Rollover Protective Structure Program (CROPS).
To reduce the risk of accidents and injuries while operating a tractor, take the following precautions when driving:
- Fasten your seatbelt securely whenever you're in the driver's seat.
- Avoid operating the tractor near steep slopes, ditches, embankments, and other uneven terrain.
- Operate the tractor smoothly, without jerky turns, starts, or stops.
- Reduce speed when turning or crossing slopes and on rough, slick, or muddy surfaces.
- Be extra attentive, particularly on tight farming roads and around trees.
By following these measures, operators can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and injuries while operating a tractor.
The risk: PTO entanglement
A tractor’s Power Take-Off (PTO) shaft allows tractor operators to utilize power from the tractor’s engine to drive a variety of machines and implements. While PTOs are useful, they can present a serious safety hazard if the PTO guard is not in place. PTOs are also a leading cause of runovers, in which tractor operators can cause damage or injury by running over or striking other bystanders or obstacles in their path.
The solution: Inspect the PTO, inspect the surroundings, and always take caution
Here are the precautionary steps to ensure PTO safety when operating a tractor. The first step always starts with a thorough inspection of the tractor and your surroundings.
- Ensure that all safety guards and shields are in place and functioning properly, including the master shield or by other protective guarding.
- Replace any missing or damaged PTO guards.
- Always stop the engine and disconnect the power source before servicing, adjusting, cleaning, or unclogging the equipment (except when the machine must be running to be properly serviced or maintained).
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings and avoid running over or striking bystanders or obstacles.
- Ensure that everyone nearby is clear of the machine before starting the tractor’s engine and engaging the PTO.
- Tie back and tuck in long hair and avoid wearing loose clothing that can be caught in a rotating PTO shaft.
While there are many ways we can safeguard our health, sometimes the most obvious precautions are the most important, such as getting regular maintenance for your tractor and getting adequate rest for yourself before a long day of work. Take basic precautions, and take them seriously. For anyone who is operating heavy machinery, avoid working alone whenever possible. Have an emergency plan in place, including a first-aid kit with basic medical items, as many agricultural injuries occur far from medical facilities.
How TYM tractors ensure your safety with smarter features
TYM is committed to enhancing our tractors with advanced technology to promote efficient and safe farming practices. Our autonomous tractors are designed to reduce operator fatigue and promote alertness during essential operations, while ensuring safety through innovative safety features.
Our latest telematics tractors leverage location data and remote vehicle control to keep your tractor secure while keeping you safe. Tractors equipped with our patented Digital Automated Vehicular Experience (D.A.V.E.) technology comes with a roll-over detection feature that will automatically shut off the engine and alert emergency contacts if a roll-over is detected. Other safety features continuously monitor the vehicle’s location and automatically shuts off the engine if it detects the loss of signal or deviation from a course. These technologies are found on the T76 and T130 tractors, which are currently available in South Korea.
We understand that despite proper training, unexpected incidents may occur during the operation of tractors. That’s why TYM is working tirelessly to create smarter tractors that are easier and safer to operate. For a sneak preview of the next generation of telematics-enabled and other top of the line TYM tractors, see this video preview of the TYM 130 and TYM 115.