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Office: University of Arkansas System Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service2301 S. University Avenue Little Rock, AR 72204
Arkansas farm owners and agricultural workers use a diverse selection of equipment
and tools. Careful operation and following appropriate safety tips during the use
of all equipment and tools help to manage risks and minimize the chances of personal
injury. Unfortunately, the annual death rate for farm workers involving on-farm accidents
is more than 20 per 100,000 workers in the United States.
Our specialists and agents are dedicated to provide resources you can use to stay
safe on your farm. Details for safe operation vary widely and the equipment manuals
should be read and followed appropriately.
Agriculture uses a diverse array of tools and equipment. As with all tools and equipment
careful operation and following appropriate safety tips helps to manage risks and
minimize the chances of personal injury.
Agricultural Equipment Safety
This section explores some on-farm hazards and presents some tips for accident prevention.
It also emphasizes the importance of considering safety first. According to The National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), farming is considered one of
the most hazardous and dangerous occupations in the US. Farmers are at a relatively
high risk of fatal and nonfatal injuries. It is important that farm workers be aware
of potential hazards in day-to-day farm operations to reduce the possibility of injury
or death. Unfortunately, the number of fatal work injuries by major events in 2015
accounted for 4,824 cases. Transportation incidents, the incident with the most casualties
among workers fatal injuries, represented 42.6% of these fatalities. Falls/slips/trips,
contact with object and equipment, and violence accounted for 800, 722 and 703 fatal
occupational injuries, respectively.
On Farm Hazards and Accident Prevention
Over the years, tractor design and development have changed dramatically. Many safety
measures have been developed and made a part of the basic tractor design. One example
of this is the roll-over protective structure (ROPS) designed to protect the operator
in case of a tractor rollover accident. The use of seatbelts and tractor cabs with
built-in ROPS are other examples of safety designed into the tractor.
Farm tractors provide the primary source of power on many farms. Studies show that
the farm tractor is involved in a high proportion of farm fatalities and severe injuries.
To avoid them, follow safe management principles and implement a tractor safety program
on your farm.
Tractor Safety - Tips for Arkansas Producers
Tractor safety - USU
Tractor Safety - NSC
Harvesting timber, clearing land and fence rows, and cutting and transporting fire
wood are common tasks on farms and rural property. When done by trained loggers or
foresters using machines designed for working in the woods, these tasks can be done
with minimal risk. But when attempted by untrained or inexperienced farmers or rural
property owners using machines designed for farming or property maintenance, the same
tasks have an increased risk of a serious injury or fatality.
Safe Use of Tractors in Woods
The power-take-off (PTO) allows a farmer to harness the power of the tractor engine
to drive a variety of machines. It is just as important today as it was when it was
first introduced. However, a healthy respect for the PTO drive line's potential for
causing injury and death is needed.
Power Take-Off - Penn State
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 58,385 adult
farm-related job injuries in 2014. In other words, every day about 160 agricultural
workers suffers a lost-work-time injury. Moreover, five percent of these injuries
result in permanent impairment. Unfortunately, in 2013, the Bureau of Labor reported
that 459 farmers and farm operators died from work-related injuries, leading to a
fatality rate of 21.7 deaths per 100,000 workers, which is twice the rate for the
next highest industry of mining. Injury and death rates in almost every survey published
are higher from April to September for agricultural work, when most farm activities
Large Farm Equipment Accident Prevention
As with all equipment careful operation and following appropriate trailer safety tips
helps to manage risks and minimize the chances of personal injury. While the types
of loads vary, there are some general guidelines that have broad application.
Trailer Use Safety
Always refer to the appropriate implement and attachment Operator’s Manual(s) for
operating guidelines and safety instructions. Use common sense in the use and application
of attachments for the job at hand. Carelessness, impatience and fatigue are your
worst enemy around a tractor and its attachments. Be in the habit of walking around,
not between, the tractor and implement. If you are tired you are more likely to make
shortcuts — and mistakes — so shut it down and rest. These simple precautions may
save your life.
Runovers caused by falls from tractors and trailing equipment are one of the most
common forms of unintentional injuries that happen on the farm or ranch. Many of these
lead to serious injury and death. Falls from farm machinery are particularly common
for the older farmer and children. Falls from machinery can be prevented by adopting
these basic practices.
Falls from Tractors and Trailing Equipment
Harvesting equipment is a necessity on farms to gather the crops for a bountiful harvest.
Harvest time is primary revenue time on many farms and is also one of the peak periods
for farm injuries and deaths. Many of these injuries can be prevented through effective
farm safety management.
Safe Use of Harvesting Equipment
Skid-steers are large equipment that can be used for a variety of farm jobs. They
are valuable “workhorses” for many farms. Larger skid-steers are familiar at building
sites because of their higher power, while smaller skid-steers with better maneuverability
are useful for landscaping and gardening jobs.