Farm Vehicle Safety

August 25, 2016

Tips for Talking

  • Plan ahead. Be familiar and comfortable with the topic.
  • Make it relevant. Include related tasks and work areas or events.
  • Involve your workers. Ask questions that lead to participation. See suggestions under “Discussion Drivers.”

What went wrong?

September 14, 3:30 p.m.

Harvesting grapes into four, 1000 lb wooden bins on a trailer pulled behind a Ford 4100 tractor was hard work! Workers at B & H Vineyards were relieved that their day was almost over. In an effort to catch a quick ride back to the main farm building, two workers hopped up on the running boards of the tractor. As the tractor slowly turned onto the main road, the driver heard a scream. Stopping the tractor, he discovered his co-worker and best friend, David, had fallen off the running board and his leg was crushed under the rear tractor tire. David was rushed to the hospital where his leg had to be amputated below the knee. What went wrong?

Tractor Talks

Farm Vehicle Safety

Farmworkers rely on the help of many different vehicles, with trucks and tractors among the most commonly used. These vehicles present a variety of hazards that can result in serious injury or death. In fact, tractor accidents are the leading source of injury and death on farms. To use and work around farm vehicles safely, remember these tips:

  • Inspect the area. Before starting, moving or engaging any piece of farm equipment look around for people and objects that might be in your way. Be aware of other equipment and activities in the area.
  • Respect the PTO. Stop the power take-off shaft when dismounting the vehicle and keep all shields in place.
  • Be familiar with the equipment before using it. Some equipment is rarely used. Inspect and review operating procedures for equipment that is new to you or that you haven’t used for a while.
  • Know how attachments affect the vehicle’s balance and maneuvering. Take time to practice managing attachments on a clear, level area before taking it into the field.
  • Do not allow “riders.” Aside from trucks, most farm vehicles are not designed for passengers or riders.

Keep an Eye Out for These Hazards:

  • Are there people, equipment, or other activities in the area?
  • Is the ground sloped, unstable, muddy, or slippery?
  • For roadway driving, is there a “Slow Moving Vehicle” sign displayed?
  • Is everyone in the area familiar with hand signals for when verbal communication isn’t possible?
  • Is equipment turned off when re-fueling and anytime a driver isn’t in the driver’s seat?

Discussion Drivers

  1. Other than David, who else was affected by his accident?
  2. Describe a situation where you were concerned about how farm vehicles were being managed or used.
  3. How would you respond if a co-worker pointed out that something you were doing wasn’t safe?
For more Information on Farm Vehicle Safety visit:

This material was produced under grant number SH-27619-15-60-F-37 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. It does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.