Tractor safety tips

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Tractor accident It might seem obvious, but watch out for ditches, embankments and depressions Tractor accident
Tractor PTO Do not use or attach implements unless the power shaft or PTO shaft is guarded. Tractor PTO

Complacency can be a killer, so it never hurts to review your tractor safety knowledge. Here are some great tips from the Queensland Government

General safety precautions

Read and follow all of the manufacturer's operating instructions.

Ensure tractor drivers have completed specialised training for the particular farm needs.

A rollover protective structure (ROPS) must be fitted to the tractor in accordance with state WHS regulations.

Wear comfortable, well-fitting clothing and boots.

Wear hearing protection when driving tractors without cabins.

Wear a seat belt where fitted.

Adjust the seat so that all controls can be operated comfortably and safely.

Keep children away from tractors and machinery.

Keep all guards in place, including power take off (PTO) and master shield guards.

Do not carry passengers unless there is a designated seat and seat belt within the protective zone of the ROPS.


Hitching implements

Fit attachments according to the manufacturer's instructions.

When attaching equipment, always use the mounting points or draw bar provided by the manufacturer. Do not use improvised methods.

Do not alter, modify, or raise the height of the draw bar outside of those adjustments made by the manufacturer.

When a power implement is attached to the tractor ensure all guards are in place before operating.

Never hitch above the centre-line of the rear axle, around the axle housing or to the top link pin.

Do not attempt to adjust or work on implements while they are in motion.

Do not use or attach implements unless the power shaft or PTO shaft is guarded.


Starting and stopping

Start the tractor only from the driving position and not from the ground

Do not dismount from a moving tractor

Ensure the park brake is on and operating effectively before dismounting

Do not park a tractor on a steep slope

Remove the starting key when the tractor is not in use


Operating a tractor

Drive at speeds slow enough to retain control in unexpected circumstances.

Reduce speed before turning or applying brakes.

Watch out for ditches, embankments and depressions – crumbling and slippery banks can cause overturns.

When stuck in soft ground, back out. If unsuccessful, get help.

Reverse up steep slopes, rather than driving forward (ensure no trailing implements are attached).

Use as wide a wheel track as possible when working on hillsides and sloping ground. Descend slopes cautiously. Keep the tractor in low gear and allow the motor compression to act as a brake.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for adding ballast to improve tractor stability.


Regular maintenance

Service your tractor regularly.

Check ROPS regularly.

Do not remove or replace belts while the pulleys are under power.

Stop the engine before servicing or greasing.

Keep steps and working platforms free of grease and oil to avoid slips and falls.

Change wheels on flat surfaces only. Before removing any wheel, check the other wheels. Avoid improvised lifting arrangements. Use a wide-based jack of adequate lifting capacity. When the tractor is jacked up, block it up evenly for additional support.

Ensure all the air pressure has been released before removing a tyre from the rim. Use correct procedures. Split rims can cause serious injuries. Tyres should be inflated in a cage for safety


Protecting your back

Adjust the seat to suit your body. Consider the type of seating when buying your next tractor.

A tractor with a seat that has vibration absorbing suspension is highly recommended. Prolonged exposure to vibration may cause back damage.

Never jump down from the tractor.

Wear footwear that provides a firm grip when mounting or dismounting the tractor, or operating foot pedals.


More agriculture safety tips are available from the Queensland Government's safety and compensation services website:

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