TORRANCE, Calif. – Sept. 17, 2012 – The hustle of harvest is nearly upon us, and farmers and ranchers across the country will be working at full-speed to get important work done. Harvest undoubtedly requires a speedy execution, which increases the risk of injury for tractor operators. This harvest season, Kubota Tractor Corporation is reminding all tractor and heavy equipment users to slow down and invest the time to create safe operating habits in observance of the National Education Center for Agriculture’s ”National Farm and Safety Health Week,“ September 16 – 22, 2012.
“At Kubota, safety is a top priority and this harvest we are encouraging all those who operate tractors and heavy equipment to take a step back and talk to the entire family about slowing down for safety,” said Greg Embury, vice president of sales and marketing, Kubota Tractor Corporation. “There’s no such thing as talking ‘too much’ about safety with your family. These conversations could prevent a serious injury or fatality due to an unfortunate accident.”
Safety Starts with Use of a Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS)
According to the National Safety Council, if all tractors were equipped with a ROPS and a safety belt, about 350 lives would be saved each year, as most tractor fatalities are caused by overturns. Make sure your tractor – old and new – has a fully operational ROPS. Along with a fastened seatbelt, ROPS provides a protective zone around the operator, which proves to be highly effective in preventing serious injury and death due to tractor rollovers. 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. Although Kubota strongly recommends the use of ROPS and seatbelts in almost all applications, do not wear the seatbelt when the ROPS is folded.
For owners of older model Kubota tractors, Kubota offers information about ROPS and seatbelt installation on the www.kubota.com safety tab, which allows owners to submit their tractor’s model and serial number for eligible models to obtain retrofit pricing from their local Kubota dealer. Major tractor manufacturers have special programs where a ROPS can be obtained for most tractors manufactured since 1970. To date, Kubota dealers throughout the country have installed more than 10,000 retrofits.
Take Extra Caution When Operating a Power Take- Off Shaft (PTO)
During the harvest season, a majority of equipment users will operate attachments using a PTO. A PTO is an effective means of transferring power from the engine of a tractor to the implement and attachments, but it is also one of the most exposed, powerful parts of a tractor, which is why extra caution is necessary.
The number-one rule is to always read the appropriate implement and attachment operator’s manual for guidelines and safety instructions. Tractor operators should also make it a habit to walk around the tractor and PTO driven implement – never walk over, through or between the tractor and implement, particularly if either is running. The PTO rotates with enough speed and strength to kill you.
Safety: “A Family Affair”
As an operator, it is important to follow safety guidelines closely. It is also imperative to share safety tips with the entire family. Kubota offers the following tips to help equipment owners and operators start the safety conversation with the whole family:
- Remind your kids to stop, look and listen when playing outside, especially on the farm. It is very important that children are always aware of their surroundings and understand they should never stand around or behind a tractor, even if it is not moving.
- Express to your children that tractors are not toys and they should only be operated by adults who are thoroughly familiar with the equipment. Children are generally attracted to tractors and the work they do. However, a tractor’s work is not child’s play.
- Be honest, and clear with your kids, letting them know farm equipment is not safe to ride on, even when an adult is present. The tractor only has one seat and it is intended for the operator. Remind them to just say “no” if someone offers them a ride.
- Encourage your kids to become a “Safety First Sherriff.” Empower your children and educate them on safety precautions like the use of ROPS, seatbelts and why it is so important to take extra precaution with PTOs. This knowledge will allow your kids to remind the whole family to make safety a top priority.
Another tool for starting the safety conversation with children is getting them involved in Kubota’s Farm Safety Coloring Contest. Now through Oct. 1, 2012, families of children 12 and under can download a page from Kubota’s “Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety” coloring book to color and send it in for a chance to win prizes. Visit the safety tab on www.kubota.com for instructions on how to enter, and for more safety information, including Kubota’s “Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety” brochure and Kubota’s “Hazard Hunt” game.