TORRANCE, Calif. (Sept. 21, 2011) – Get ready: the fall harvest season is nearly upon us. The so-called “lazy” days of summer will undoubtedly give way to a very busy harvest for farmers across the county, increasing the likelihood for fatigue and risk of injury for tractor operators logging extra hours in the fields. That is why Kubota Tractor Corporation, in observance of the National Education Center for Agriculture Safety’s “National Farm Safety and Health Week,” September 18-24, 2011, is reminding all tractor and equipment users to brush up on ten critical safety reminders – Kubota’s Ten Commandments to Tractor Safety – before harvest season officially gets underway.
“At Kubota, we advocate for safe operating practices year-round, but especially during peak seasons like harvest,” says Greg Embury, vice president of sales and marketing, Kubota Tractor Corporation. “As the end of summer moves to fall, it is a good time to remind everyone who operates tractors and heavy equipment – farmers, ranchers and their families – about tractor safety to help prevent 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. 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.
Here are Kubota’s “Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety” and important reminders for tractor operators for a year-round commitment to safe operating practices:
1. Know your tractor, its implements and how they work.
Please read and understand the Operator’s Manual(s) before operating the equipment. Also, keep your equipment in good condition.
2. Use ROPS and a seatbelt whenever and wherever applicable.
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. Do not wear the seatbelt when the ROPS is folded.* Most tractor fatalities are caused by overturns. (*Kubota Tractor Corporation strongly recommends the use of ROPS and seatbelts in almost all applications.)
3. Be familiar with your terrain and work area – walk the area first to be sure and drive safely.
Use special caution on slopes, slow down for all turns and stay off the highway whenever possible.
4. Never start an engine in a closed shed or garage.
Exhaust gas contains carbon monoxide, which is colorless, odorless – and deadly.
5. Always keep your PTO properly shielded.
Make it a habit to walk around your 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.
6. Keep your hitches low and always on the drawbar.
Otherwise, your tractor might flip over backwards.
7. Never get off a moving tractor or leave it with its engine running.
Shut it down before leaving the seat.
8. Never refuel while the engine is running or hot.
Additionally, do not add coolant to the radiator while the engine is hot; hot coolant can erupt and scald.
9. Keep all children off and away from your tractor and its implements at all times.
Children are generally attracted to tractors and the work they do. However, a tractor’s work is not child’s play. Remember, a child’s disappointment is fleeting, while your memory of his or her injury or death resulting from riding the tractor with you, or being too close, will last a lifetime.
10. Never be in a hurry or take chances about anything you do with your tractor. Think safety first, then take your time and do it right.
A Commitment to Safety
Additional safety information, including Kubota’s “Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety” brochure, Kubota’s “Hazard Hunt” game, and a tractor safety coloring book, can be found at Kubota.com. Owners of older model Kubota tractors can also utilize a ROPS and Seatbelt Installation function on the Kubota.com safety pages that allows owners to submit their tractor’s model and serial number for eligible models to obtain retrofit pricing from their local Kubota dealer. Contact your local dealer for more information on ROPS retrofits for older tractor models. 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.
A long-time supporter of safety initiatives, Kubota is also a proud sponsor of the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day™ educational program – an effort designed to make safety education and training available for children year-round. Now in its 17th year, the program will conclude more than 410 Safety Day events in 2011 across the U.S. and Canada.