Penn State Extension, Lehigh County Farm Bureau hosting tractor, machinery safety course
Agriculture has the dubious distinction of being one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. With training, common sense and safety knowledge, that distinction can be changed. Farmers, and others working in agriculture, need to be aware of, promote and practice safety measures on a year-round basis.
Take advantage of farm safety training when it’s offered at farm machinery/equipment trainings sponsored by local/area equipment dealerships, Cooperative Extension, or farm organizations. Additionally, it is advisable to simply slow down, assess any possible safety challenges and apply a healthy dose of common sense, maturity and a sense of responsibility to any safety situation.
Here is a list of 15 safety reminders that all farms, farmers and farm families should observe. It’s only a partial listing. You may want to add your own safety reminders to this list.
1. Farmers need to do daily safety and maintenance checks on all tractors used to perform farm work.
2. Farm tractors have one seat. This means one operator and NO extra riders on fenders, hitches or in front-end loader buckets.
3. All farm tractors and any attached or trailing farm equipment must display the triangular, blaze orange Slow Moving Vehicle emblem.
5. Be cautious around all livestock that have given birth.
6. Be aware of potentially deadly silo gas when chopping and placing corn silage in an upright silo.
7. Be aware of the potentially deadly outcome when working around or in a grain bin or storage.
8. Never trust any hydraulically-raised equipment, such as front-end loaders, dump trailers, etc.
9. Be aware of steep hillsides when harvesting any crop on the farm.
10. Never step-over a running PTO shaft.
11. Be sure all PTO shields and other safety shields are in good repair and properly secured on all farm equipment.
12. When work has t4o be performed on a farm implement, be sure that the PTO has been shut off and that all machine movement has ceased.
13. Always wait for a hot engine to cool before attempting to re-fuel a tractor.
14. Never start a tractor in a closed garage or shed. The carbon monoxide threat can cause a human and/or animal fatality. Keep well-ventilated.
15. Be sure to match farm equipment/implements to a tractor that is compatible to that equipment/implement.
Consumers across the globe are blessed with dedicated, caring farmers. We rely on this small number of farmers to keep us fed. It is best when these food producers stay safe by making good decisions when working with their farm machines and livestock. We suggest a large dose of respect for the potential for a farm accident and continuous vigilance for the many and diverse farm safety challenges.
Penn State Extension and Lehigh County Farm Bureau are teaming up to host a National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Training Program. This course will be primarily held in Lehigh County with an occasional visit to Northampton County. This program is open to participants ages 8 to adult and will be held from March 26 through April 27. By successfully completing this certification program, 14 and 15-year-old youth may legally operate farm tractors and powered machinery for hire which they otherwise would not be allowed to operate under the U.S. Department of Labor’s Hazardous Occupations Order in Agriculture. Lehigh and Berks County Farm Bureaus have been generous enough to offer full scholarships to all Lehigh and Berks County residents who attend this training.