If you work with farm tractors, it’s vitally important to know of the risks they pose and to know how to effectively eliminate or minimise those risks says New Zealand’s leading farm consultants, AgSafe NZ.
On average, six to seven farmers are killed every year in New Zealand farms while using tractors. and many hundreds more have been seriously injured due to improper use. As farm health and safety professionals, AgSafe share some important tips for keeping safe on farms.
Do not carry passengers on tractors that don’t have instructor seats, roll-over protective structures and safety belts.
“Before getting off a tractor, always put it in neutral then apply the brakes and disengage the power take-off,” says Jim Findlay, Rural Consultant for AgSafe New Zealand Ltd.
When getting on and off a tractor, always keep three points of contact (two hands and one foot) with the tractor or ground. Never jump on or off a moving tractor.
It is also a good idea to clean the steps of the tractor frequently as you are more likely to slip and fall if the tractor steps have a build-up of dirt and grime.
Tractors are loud machines and prolonged use of them without protection can damage your hearing. If the tractor does not come with a soundproof cab, always wear appropriate hearing protection.
When turning on and crossing slopes with a tractor, never turn down a slope. “Do not work across slopes if your tractor has a big diameter, tubeless, low- ground-pressure type tyres,” advises Jim.
At times where appropriate the uphill wheel brake can be utilized to provide directional stability. This makes the bottom wheels drive, keeping the nose of the tractor uphill, giving it improved traction.
When travelling up and downhill always drive straight down and up steep hills and select a low gear before driving and then apply the throttle to reduce the likelihood of the engine stalling.
Where you can take steps to enhance the stability of the tractor. You can do this by widening the wheel-base, putting in wheel weights that bolt into the wheel’s centre and slowing down on rough terrain and slopes. “On some 4WD tractors, reverse the tyres to aid with traction braking on the front axle,” adds Jim.
All tractors driven on the road must be in a good state and safe to use on the road. This usually means that they need to meet the same obligations as tractors on a WoF.
Contact AgSafe NZ Ltd:
Phone: 0274 587 724