There’s nothing more tragic than a preventable accident. Tractor attachments and tractor accessories for sale come with many benefits, but they also come with inherent dangers if not maintained and operated properly. Because a tractor is a powerful piece of equipment that can accomplish a lot of heavy work, it can also be dangerous if not operated and maintained properly.
Tractors are the chief cause of accident-related fatalities in agriculture. Many people have either died or been seriously hurt falling from a moving tractor, being overrun by a tractor, or have been killed or injured by a tractor rolling backward or to the side.
The good news is there are some simple habits you can form to ensure your safety, the safety of your loved ones, and the safety of your employees when operating tractors and using tractor attachments and parts. (Note that these tips are also important when using tractors and tractor attachments for gardening.)
- Be the guardian. First and foremost, for their protection, always keep small children not only off your tractor, but at a safe distance from your tractor and tractor attachments. Kids commonly have a natural curiosity about tractors and the kind of things they do. A child’s momentary displeasure is always preferable to a terrible accident that could have been prevented with the right guidelines in place.
- Understand the biggest danger. The majority of tractor-related fatalities happen because of overturns. Be certain you’re using your rollover protective structure (a cab or frame that provides a safe environment for the tractor operator in a rollover incident, also known as ROPS), in addition to your seat belt, anywhere it’s appropriate. Some tractors have a foldable rollover protective structure. If that’s the case, fold it down only when required and fold it up and relock it as soon as you can.
- Drive safely and choose a safe route. Don’t accelerate with unnecessary speed or drive along steep hillsides, roadsides, ditches, or slopes. If needed, improve the grip of the wheels on your tractor and tractor attachments with chains or other appropriate implements. Look out for unexpected people around you as well. Taking responsibility for remaining vigilant is important, because you can’t guarantee everyone around you is paying attention.
- Respect your equipment. Know where your manual is, and take the time to learn about your tractor. There isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” manual for tractors or tractor accessories. All tractors and tractor accessories for sale come with an owner’s manual. This is why you have no excuse not to be in possession of the operator’s manuals for your tractor and its attachments. Always have these resources on hand for easy reference. Knowing how to care for your particular equipment and keeping it in good condition is also an important preventative measure when it comes to possible accidents.
- Be cool before you refuel. Again, patience is important. It’s unsafe to refill your tractor’s fuel while the engine is on, or even if it is still hot. In addition, it’s important to avoid adding coolant to the radiator while the engine is still hot, because hot coolant can overflow, causing scalding burns.
- Mount and dismount with care. Countless injuries involving tractors actually happen as a consequence of taking a fall while ascending or descending the tractor’s steps. Stabilize yourself using both hands and feet at all times, and secure loose clothing that could catch and cause a tumble.
- Practice caution and restraint with front-end loaders. Commonly mistreated by extending their capabilities too far, front-end loaders should be treated with restraint and caution. Accurate overall balancing is required for lifting safely. Also be sure to properly equip your loader with the right tractor attachment parts, appropriate for the load you are moving.
- Know your surroundings. Along the same lines as choosing a safe route, be very aware of your environment and work zone. Don’t allow anything to impede safe driving. Take the time to cover the area on foot first, detecting any hindrance or impediment on the terrain. Even when you’ve settled on a safe route, stay vigilant, using extreme care on inclines, reduce speed when turning, and avoid the main roads as much as you are able.
- Recognize the invisible danger. Sometime the danger has no color, no odor, and is nonetheless deadly. Under no circumstances should you ever start any engine in an enclosed area, and that includes your tractor’s engine. Remember that exhaust gas contains toxic carbon monoxide.
- Guard your step. Continually make sure your PTO (or power take off, which lets implements pull energy from the engine) is secure. Routinely inspect your tractor and PTO-driven tractor attachment parts, walking around—not above, not from side to side, and not in the middle—of your tractor and implements, especially if either or both is running. Be aware that the PTO revolves powerfully enough to cause fatal damage.
- Watch your hitches. At all times, have your hitches near to the ground and on the drawbar (which is mounted on a tractor and used for limiting lateral movement in cases when turning a towed implement may be tricky). This is imperative because, if not, your tractor could potentially flip backwards.
- Don’t be in a rush. A rogue tractor can be very hazardous. Don’t, in any situation, exit a tractor that’s in motion or leave the tractor with its engine running. The basic rule to always adhere to is, always shut it down completely before you vacate the seat.
You’ve chosen the best tractor attachments and tractor attachment parts for sale to do the hard work you need to do. Now it’s time to use them safely. In the end, much of this boils down to good habits and common sense. The key is respect the power of your equipment, and to avoid being distracted or in a rush when operating a tractor. In the end, taking your time to follow the proper procedures will not only save you trouble—it could save your life.