Many thanks to Kubota for their continued efforts to educate farmers about safety. One farming-related, preventable accident is too many — see below for more information from Kubota, including their “Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety.”
Tractor Safety as Fundamental as a Parachute on a Plane
After a recent tractor rollover accident, a farmer likened not having a tractor rollover protection structure, or ROPS, to falling out of an airplane without a parachute – a safety precaution not often thought about until the plane is about to crash. In this particular incident, when the tractor he was driving was rear-ended by a truck and rolled over, he was able to walk away with only minor injuries because his tractor was equipped with a ROPS and his seatbelt was fastened. This example – just one among many – confirms the belief that while tractor accidents are not predictable, following recommended safety precautions for operating equipment can go a long way toward reducing injuries or death.
Agriculture has inherent dangers, with 28.7 deaths per 100,000 adult workers, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). As this year’s busy fall harvest season gets underway, Kubota is encouraging all tractor and equipment users to heed these statistics and renew their emphasis on safety in observance of the NSC’s National Farm Safety and Health Week, September 20-26, 2009.
“For Kubota, safety is a year-round priority,” says Greg Embury, vice president of sales and marketing, Kubota Tractor Corporation. “The start of harvest season is a good time to remind everyone who operates tractors and heavy equipment – farmers, ranchers and their families – about tractor safety. A small amount of time committed to following safe equipment operation now can be your ‘parachute’ to help prevent serious injury or fatality due to an unfortunate accident in the future.”
Make sure your tractor – old and new – has a fully operational Rollover Protective Structure or ROPS. The operation of a tractor equipped with ROPS and a fastened seatbelt, is considered to be highly effective in preventing serious injury and death due to tractor rollovers because the ROPS and fastened seatbelt provide a protective zone around the operator. According to the NSC, if all tractors were equipped with a ROPS and a safety belt, about 350 lives would be saved each year.
Kubota’s “Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety” for review this harvest season:
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 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.
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 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.
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.
Safety Education Important at a Young Age
When it comes to protecting our kids, farm safety education is critical. 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. As a sponsor of the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day educational program, Kubota is part of an effort designed to make safety education and training available for children year-round. Now in its 15th year, 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.
Additional safety information, including Kubota’s “Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety” brochure, Kubota’s “Hazard Hunt” game, and a tractor safety coloring book, can be found at www.kubota.com. Owners of older model Kubota tractors can also utilize a ROPS and Seatbelt Installation function on the Kubota.com safety pages that allows owners to submit their tractor’s model and serial number for eligible models to obtain retrofit pricing from their local Kubota dealer. Contact your local dealer for more information on ROPS retrofits for older tractor models. Major tractor manufacturers have special programs where a ROPS can be obtained for most tractors manufactured since 1970. To date, Kubota dealers throughout the country have installed more than 10,000 retrofits.