Last week the son of a neighbor was riding his ATV down the road in front of the house at a very high rate of speed. He had two friends on the back and one friend on the right fender and they all seemed to be enjoying the speed. I, on the other hand, almost had a heart attack at the sight. Unfortunately, teenagers think getting hurt or killed on rural machinery only happens to other people.
According to Farm Safety 4 Just Kids , every year, an average of 104 children under the age of 20 die on the farm. Farm machinery accounts for a third of those deaths. Serious, life altering injuries occur at a much higher rate. Tractors account for 1 in 5 of those injuries.
Adults are not immune, either. The father of an acquaintance was crushed by a shredder when he ran over some baling wire in his pasture, put up the wings on the shredder, and tried to untangle the wire. Even though the tractor and shredder were off, one wing fell on him and crushed him to the point he could not breathe. He suffocated, and it wasn’t quick and merciful, either.
I mention these statistics and these incidents not to scare you, but to warn you of a danger that is so often overlooked. Tractors are machines that must be treated with respect. Kubota, along with most tractor manufacturers, works hard to educate buyers about safety. They have a section of their website with safety information. There is a podcast , a coloring book , safety video , and material for adults to read. In addition, they have provided some information to help you stay safe in the form of a Kubota safety prize pack. I will tell you how to win it after this:
Picture courtesy of Kubota and used with permission. (c) Kubota All other rights reserved
THE 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 A Roll Over Protective Structure (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. Most tractor fatalities are caused by overturns.*
- 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 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.
*Kubota Tractor Corporation strongly recommends the use of ROPS and seat belts in almost all applications
For additional materials on farm safety, you can go to Farm Safety 4 Just Kids for children and the National Ag Safety Database or the Southwest Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention and Education for adults.
To win the Kubota safety pack:
Go to the safety pages and then come back and tell me one thing you learned there. Make sure you put your email address in the comment. Contest ends 6/28/2010 at 11:59 pm central time. US residents only, no P.O. boxes. I will randomly pick one comment and email you for your full name and address. Kubota will then send your prize. If you do not send me the necessary information within 48 hours, I will pick someone else. Some items in the pack may vary from this picture at the discretion of Kubota.
Picture courtesy of Kubota and used with permission. (c) KubotaAll other rights reserved
FCC Disclosure: I was given a prize pack by Kubota. This did not influence my opinions, which are my own.
For more help gardening, buy my book, Preparing A Vegetable Garden From The Ground Up
Available in print or ebook from Amazon.com or other retailers, this book walks you from choosing the site of your garden all the way through what to do after the harvest. Buy a copy for yourself or a friend today!