Tire Safety: Expiration Dates

Imagine cruising down the road on a beautiful spring afternoon or returning home after a long day at work when suddenly the back right tire of your vehicle explodes. Luckily, you maintain control and safely maneuver to the side of the road. The tires are new, purchased a few months ago from a local tire shop. How could this happen to new tires?

The fact is that all tires have an expiration date. Surprisingly, many consumers and sellers of tires do not know about tire expiration dates. An uninformed consumer thinks he or she purchased brand new tires when in reality those tires may have been sitting on the shelf for years. Even though the tires were never used on a vehicle, they are still several years old. Every tire has a birth date—the day it was manufactured—and an expiration date that is six years from that manufacture date. Most automobile manufacturers warn drivers to replace vehicle tires after six years. To wait any longer than that is a gamble with tire integrity and is risky for drivers.

So what can you, as a driver, do to protect yourself? When buying new tires, ask for the newest tires available, and look at the tire’s manufacture date. The manufacture date is a Department of Transportation (DOT) code of 10 or 11 characters embossed on the inside of the tire (see Figure 1). For new tires, the code is always 11 characters. However, tires manufactured before the year 2000 have a 10-character code. Expiration dates for tires manufactured before 2000 were based on a 10-year scale because the expected life-span of a tire was 10 years. Current guidance suggests that tires should be expected to last a maximum of only six years.

Tire Code Photo

Figure 1. A tire manufactured-date code, shown in the yellow box, may appear on the outside of some tires. The 11-character DOT code, shown in the red box, appears on the inside of tires.

Recently, some tire manufacturers have begun to stamp partial codes on the outside of tires (facing away from the vehicle) so that checking the date does not necessitate removing the wheel. This partial code, boxed in yellow  in Figure 1, is the most important piece of information about a tire. These last four digits of the DOT code represent the manufacture date of the tire. The last two digits refer to the year the tire was produced, and the first two digits identify the week number within that year. The tire shown in Figure 1 was manufactured on the 36th week of the year 2001. That tire was on a trailer that had been sitting in a field unused for 10 years, and it showed signs of dry-rot cracking. It is unclear whether trailer tires should be replaced every six years since they do not receive the same daily punishment as automobile tires. However, automobile tires should be replaced every six years.

The majority of people who take the gamble of keeping outdated tires do so to save money. Driving on outdated tires is risky not only for the driver of the car having those tires but also for other drivers. Take the initiative and change vehicle tires every six years, or sooner, to diffuse a potentially dangerous situation.

 

Authored by:
Matt Deskevich, Student Assistant at Penn State University – mdd5309@psu.edu
 
Reviewed by:
Bill Harshman, Penn State University (Has since retired)
Dennis Murphy, Penn State University (Has since retired)
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska aaron.yoder@unmc.edu
Kerri Ebert, Kansas State University kebert@ksu.edu
 

 

Overhead Power-Line Safety


Photo of electrical lines at the farm

Photo provided by the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH)

 

Use the following format to cite this article:

Overhead power-line safety. (2012) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/70904/overhead-power-line-safety.

Overhead power lines on a farm or ranch can pose a significant electrocution hazard. Because power lines may have been installed without insulation or the insulation may have worn off due to exposure to weather, you should assume that all power lines are bare. Death from electrocution can occur when a person touches a power line while he or she is also in contact with the ground. When electricity enters something or someone, it takes the easiest and shortest path to electrical ground, the point at which the electricity is absorbed (as in the earth).

There are numerous pieces of equipment on a farm or ranch that, due to their height, can come in contact with overhead power lines:

  • loader tractors 
  • portable grain augers and elevators 
  • dump trucks 
  • cultivators in transport mode
  • irrigation pipes 
  • equipment with antennas 

Specific Risks

  • Dump trucks: When raised, the bed of a dump truck or trailer can contact overhead power lines. The person operating the dump truck should note the location of power lines before raising the bed and should not move the dump truck or trailer while the bed is in the raised position.

    • Typically, if a raised bed contacts a power line, the operator will not be at risk of electrocution if he or she remains inside the vehicle because the truck’s tires provide insulation. If, however, a person standing on the ground touches the dump truck or trailer while it is in contact with an overhead line, he or she could be electrocuted.
  • Hay: A loader tractor or telescopic loader may be used during hay handling. Because the booms of such vehicles may reach as high as overhead power lines, putting the vehicle at risk of contact, hay should not be stored under power lines.  
  • Grain bin: Electrocution incidents associated with grain bins occur when augers and/or elevator equipment is used in the vicinity of overhead power lines. The National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) requires that, where a portable auger or filling equipment is used, power lines be at least 18 ft. above the highest point on any grain bin constructed after 1992.

    • Consult a licensed electrician or your local power company for guidance when planning changes to your grain bin operations.
    • Click here for information from the U.S. Department of Labor concerning power line safety and equipment operation.

As a farmer or rancher, you can reduce your risk of electrocution by following these recommendations:

  • Be aware of the location of overhead power lines on your farm, and avoid the risk of electrocution by choosing a route for your equipment that avoids potential contact.
  • Never touch a power line.
  • Contact your local power company if an incident occurs.
  • Never use ladders around power lines.
  • Remember that some equipment may have a higher profile during transport.
  • Maintain a 10 ft. clearance space between the power lines and your equipment. Contact your power company to determine the height of power lines on your farm.
  • If you are in a tractor and come in contact with power lines, remain in the tractor and have someone contact the power company to shut off the power.
    • If you are in a tractor that contacts power lines and you must exit because of an emergency such as a fire, jump out and away from the tractor as far as possible. Never allow any part of your body to touch both the equipment and the ground at the same time. Plan to fall away from the tractor to avoid tripping back into contact with the tractor.
  • Review safety measures with all individuals working on your farm, whether full-time, part-time, seasonal, or voluntary.
  • Remember that even nonmetallic objects such as tree limbs, ropes, and straw can conduct electricity.
Click HERE to view recommendations from SafeElectricity.org regarding electrical safety on agricultural operations.
 

Use the following format to cite this article:

Overhead power-line safety. (2012) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/70904/overhead-power-line-safety.

 

Citations

Maintain proper clearance around grain bins. (2010) Power Plus: A Monthly Publication of Midland Power Cooperative. Retrieved from https://www.recc.coop/grain-bin-clearances/.

Sources

Murphy, D. and Harshman, W. (2005) Farm dump truck and trailer safety. Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Extension. Retrieved from https://extension.psu.edu/farm-dump-truck-and-trailer-safety.

Schwab, C. and Miller, L. (2004) Electrocution hazards on the farm. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Retrieved from https://store.extension.iastate.edu/ItemDetail.aspx?ProductID=4616.

Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu       
William C. Harshman, Pennsylvania State University (Has since retired)
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University (Has since retired)
Charles V. Schwab, Iowa State University  cvschwab@iastate.edu
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu
 

Dump Truck and Trailer Safety

Dump Truck with Raised Bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Source: Penn State Agricultural Safety & Health)

 

Use the following format to cite this article:

Dump truck and trailer safety. (2014) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/70373/dump-truck-and-trailer-safety.

 

Farmers and ranchers use dump trucks and trailers to transport large amounts of grain and silage between farms or to market, making it cost-effective for many agricultural operations. In addition to large trucks and trailers, farmers and ranchers use semitrailer end dump trucks, pup trailers, truck and grain trailers, and regular or long-bed straight trucks. All trucks or trailers with dumping capability use a hydraulic hoist to dump their loads (grain, sand, gravel, and so on).

Most Common Incidents

The most common dump truck or trailer incidents occur when emptying a load, when a bed is lowered unexpectedly, or when a raised bed contacts overhead power lines.

Emptying a Load

Anytime the bed of the truck or trailer is raised, it places workers at risk unless hazardous situations are controlled or eliminated. Operators need to understand that a dump truck or trailer is at a risk for a tipping incident when the bed is raised because raising the bed changes the truck’s center of gravity. Even if a dumping area is relatively flat, a tipping incident could occur if a slope is created by low tire pressure on one side or one set of tires sitting in a low area or a depression. Additional hazards that can increase the risk of a tipping incident include wind, loads that are not centered, and jack-knifed trailers. The longer the trailer, the more surface area is exposed to high winds, placing lateral pressure on the trailer and creating the potential for a tipping incident.

When filling the truck or dump trailer, evenly distribute the contents to maintain proper flow and prevent the load from shifting during unloading. When emptying, raise the bed slowly and allow the contents to slide slowly toward the rear. If the bed is raised too quickly, the rearward shift of the load could damage the lift mechanism or cause the trailer and truck to tip over. It is important not to jack-knife a truck and trailer, because doing so creates the potential for the cab to be crushed should the trailer tip.

Lowering a Bed Unexpectedly

Workers place themselves in potentially fatal situations when they move between a raised dump bed and the frame of the truck or trailer to complete maintenance or repairs or to check a problem. In this position, a worker could be fatally crushed should the bed lower unexpectedly. An operator could inadvertently lower the bed, the bed’s lift components could fail, or the hoist cylinder could collapse. To reduce the risk of an unexpected bed lowering, truck and trailer beds should be outfitted with a dump box lock bar (shown below) that mechanically blocks the bed from coming down.

Dump Truck Safety

(Source: Pennsylvania State University, Agricultural Safety and Health)

Contacting Overhead Wires

The main potential for an electrocution incident occurs when there is contact between a raised dump bed and power lines. Contact typically occurs when a truck pulls away while the dump bed is still raised. Examples of why a driver would not put the dump down include the his or her forgetting or being impatient and pulling away before the dump bed is completely down, catching the dump bed on a power line. In this scenario, the driver, if he or she remains in the truck, is normally protected from electrocution because of the insulation provided by the truck tires. Electrocution could occur if the driver were to leave the cab and be in simultaneous contact with the ground and the cab, completing an electrical circuit—as when, for example, a farmer exits the cab and steps onto the ground with his or her right foot while the left foot is still on a truck step.

If there is an emergency (for example, the truck is on fire from a downed power line) and it is necessary to exit the truck while it is in contact with power lines, jump from the truck and land with your feet together and so that your body is not in contact with both the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Then “bunny hop” away from the truck with your feet together to minimize the voltage difference traveling between your feet.

Additional Hazards Associated with Dump Trucks and Trailers

Slips, falls, and crushing incidents can occur when working around a dump truck or trailer. Workers should make sure that steps are clean of mud and debris and should use stairs and handrails when accessing the truck and trailer. Crushing injuries to fingers and hands may result from opening and closing latches on tailgates or tailgate hinges. More severe crushing injuries can occur when a worker is between the dump truck or trailer and a building or other structure.

Another potential hazard is a shear-line hazard, which occurs when a large vehicle (a dump truck, combine, or something similar) operates near a ditch bank. Large vehicles can place considerable pressure on the banks of ditches and the shoulders of lanes alongside fields. If the soil on the shoulder is weak from freezing and thawing or prolonged wet weather, the weight of a dump truck or combine could result in soil collapse and a potential tipping incident. To prevent a shear-line collapse, keep your truck or combine as far back from the edge of the ditch or drop-off as the ditch or drop-off is deep.

Loading and Unloading Recommendations

Know the recommended limits of your dump truck and do not overload it. When loading your dump truck or trailer, distribute the load evenly throughout the dump bed. If you are loading a material that has poor flow, load less material than usual and distribute slightly more material to the rear of the bed. Covering the load with a tarpaulin will reduce loss during highway travel and can make unloading of grain easier. For a dumping site, choose a level surface made of concrete or compacted soil or gravel and free from overhead power lines. Prior to raising the dump bed, ensure that the tailgate is unlocked. To avoid an electrocution incident, always wait until the dump bed is completely lowered before moving the dump truck or trailer.

Maintenance

Before you complete any maintenance, always block the truck or trailer dump bed with an approved device such as dump-box lock bars. The following items of routine scheduled maintenance should not be neglected:

  • Daily tire pressure checks
  • Checks of the lights, horn, brakes, and fluid levels
  • Inspection and repair of the suspension systems
  • Lubrication of pins and bushings
  • Removal of heavy dust from hydraulic lines
  • Inspection and repair of hydraulic lift cylinders

Operator Training

Drivers of dump trucks and trailers should be trained in the following:

  • Regular maintenance and inspection of the dump truck and trailer
  • Recognition of hazardous conditions related to load distribution, unloading surfaces, fire hazard from heavy dust on hydraulic lines, and so on
  • Hand signals and safe procedures for a two-person unloading operation

Design Features

The following design features should be considered to reduce the risk of a potential incident:

  • When possible, use a bottom dump trailer to reduce the risk of raised bed hazards.
  • Install a bed liner in the dump bed to improve the flow of material when dumping.
  • Ensure that the trailer is equipped with slope-detector monitoring equipment to limit the height that the load can be lifted on uneven terrain.
  • To reduce the risk of slip-and-fall incidents, the trailer should have view windows in the sidewalls to allow workers to monitor the load.
  • To improve accessibility, use a fold-down ladder.
  • If possible, use sealed ball bearings for tailgates, which make tailgates easier to operate.
  • Choose an electric tailgate opener rather than a roller or sliding-door tailgate.
  • Choose air suspension seats rather than spring suspension seats.
  • Equip dump trucks with backup alarms.

 

Use the following format to cite this article:

 

Dump truck and trailer safety. (2014) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/70373/dump-truck-and-trailer-safety.

 

Sources

Dump truck safety. (2005) University of California. Agriculture and Natural Resources. Retrieved from http://safety.ucanr.org/files/1343.pdf.

Murphy, D. & Harshman, W. (2005) Farm dump truck and trailer safety. Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. Retrieved from https://extension.psu.edu/farm-dump-truck-and-trailer-safety.

 

Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.ed
William C. Harshman, Pennsylvania State University (Has since retired)
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University (Has since retired)
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu
Robert A. Schultheis, University of Missouri – schultheisr@missouri.edu 

PTO-Driven Post-Hole Auger Safety

Post hole digger

(Source: Penn State University Ag Safety & Health)

Use the following format to cite this article:

PTO-driven post-hole auger safety. (2014) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/70348/pto-driven-post-hole-auger-safety.

 

Post-hole augers driven by power take-offs (PTO) are mounted on a tractor and powered by the tractor’s PTO shaft. The transition from manual to mechanical power has reduced manual labor associated with post-hole digging but has increased the risk of injury when an operator does not follow safe operating procedures.

Prior to using any piece of equipment, read the operator’s manual. Follow all recommendations for operation, maintenance, and safety in the manual and on safety signage located on the auger. If you are unable to locate your operator’s manual, check with your local dealership or manufacturer for a replacement copy. Outlined below are safety recommendations to reduce your risk of an incident.

One-Person Operation

A post-hole auger is designed to be operated by one person. When the post-hole digger is in operation, the operator should be seated in the tractor seat. Other than the operator in the tractor seat, no one should be within 20 feet of the post-hole auger during operation. The tractor’s hydraulics should be used to position the auger for starting the hole and should never be manually set. Post-hole augers are equipped with a bar that rotates 90 degrees to enable the operator to remain in the tractor seat while positioning the auger. In the past, some post-hole auger owners would weld a bar to the rear of the machine for a second person to use to add downward pressure, however, this is an unsafe practice with a high risk for an entanglement incident, and this method should never be used

Personal Protective Equipment

The recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) when operating a post-hole auger includes close-fitting clothing, gloves, eye protection, hearing protection, and appropriate footwear, such as steel-toed boots. In regards to other clothing and hygiene, jewelry, scarves, or clothing with drawstrings should never be worn when operating a post-hole auger. Long hair should be kept securely tied above the shoulders.

Preoperation and Operation

Shields and guards must be in their proper place prior to operating a post-hole auger. New manufacturing standards include guards or shields for auger adapters, PTO drivelines, PTO universal joints, and connections. Depending on the make and model, check with the manufacturer to determine whether older post-hole augers can be retrofitted with updated shielding. Additional operation guidelines include the following:

  • Know the area and type of soil where you plan to dig.
  • Check the operator’s manual to determine the correct weight to place on the front of your tractor to balance the rear weight of the post-hole auger.
  • Remember to set the tractor’s brakes or put the tractor in park before you begin to dig.
  • Operate the auger at slow speed to achieve better performance and maintain more control.
  • Dig down several inches, and then lift the auger to release the soil. Repeat until the hole is the desired depth.
  • When the post-hole auger is not in use, make sure that the PTO on the tractor is shut off and that the auger is lowered to the ground.
  • When transporting a post-hole auger, fully raise the auger and watch for obstacles and obstructions that could hit the auger.

Freeing an Auger

If the auger becomes stuck (for example, due to contact with clay, rocks, or tree roots), promptly disengage the PTO and turn off the engine. With the power source is turned off, use a large wrench to slowly turn the auger backwards. After using the wrench, return to the tractor seat and raise the auger hydraulically.

Shear Pins

A shear pin is designed to break when too much pressure is placed on the drive, protecting the post-hole auger. Always use the recommended size and strength shear pin—substitutions may damage the machine and increase your risk of an entanglement incident. Keep a spare shear pin on hand to avoid downtime. Be sure to wear eye protection and gloves when removing a damaged shear pin.

Rocks and Other Obstructions

Post-hole augers have limitations. If a rock or other obstruction is preventing the auger from penetrating the ground, another location may need to be selected. If the selected location must be used, additional digging tools, such as a jackhammer or digging bar, might be needed to complete the hole.

Hydraulics

Hydraulic fluid is stored at very high pressure and can penetrate a person’s skin or eye, causing serious injury or possibly death. Inspect your hydraulic lines for signs of wear and pinhole leaks without touching the lines with your hand. While wearing safety glasses, use a piece of cardboard or wood to pass over the suspected area. If a leak is located, relieve the pressure in the hydraulic system before repairing the leak.

 

Use the following format to cite this article:

PTO-driven post-hole auger safety. (2014) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/70348/pto-driven-post-hole-auger-safety.

 

Sources

 

Implement for compact tractors: Selection, use, maintenance, and safety (2005) Louisiana State University AgCenter Reserach and Extension. Retrieved from http://www.lsuagcenter.com/nr/rdonlyres/1b522d98-ae78-4dfa-a258-7f845263….

Important safety message for owners/operators of post hole diggers. (n.d.) Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association. Retrieved from http://www.farmequip.org/media/file/PHDAD10.pdf.

Safety management for landscapers, grounds-care business and golf course. (2001) John Deere Publishing. Moline, IL.

 

Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University (Has since retired)
Michael Pate, Pennsylvania State University – mlp79@psu.edu
Robert A. Schultheis, University of Missouri – SchultheisR@missouri.edu
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu

 

Tractor Stability

NH Tractor

NH Tractor

(Photo Source: Pennsylvania State University – Ag Safety and Health)

Use the following format to cite this article:

Tractor stability. (2014) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/70338/tractor-stability.

The tractor is the most recognized piece of equipment on a farm or ranch, but it is also associated with incidents that can lead to serious injuries or death. There are various makes, models, and designs for tractors, but the basic components of tractor stability remain the same. By understanding tractor stability, you can reduce your potential for a tractor overturn incident.

Understanding Center of Gravity

The center of gravity for any object is the point on the object where all parts perfectly balance one another. For example, the point at which a pencil will balance on your finger is its center, and this center point is easily found by practicing balancing a pencil on the end of your finger. But finding the center point on larger objects is not always as simple. For example, the center of gravity on a two-wheel drive tractor is typically in the center of the tractor body as you look from right to left, but is about 10 inches above and 2 feet in front of the rear axle as you look from back to front. This center of gravity placement disperses the weight so that 30 percent of the tractor’s weight is on the front axle and 70 percent is on the rear axle.

The center of gravity must remain within the tractor’s stability baseline for the tractor to remain in an upright position. Stability baselines (shown below) are imaginary lines drawn between points where the tractor tires contact the ground.

Stability Baseline Image

(Photo Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety)

Compared to an automobile, the center of gravity is higher on a tractor because the tractor needs to be higher in order to complete operations over crops and rough terrain. Terrains, attachments, weights, and speeds can change the tractor’s resistance to turning over. The following examples describe situations in which the stability of a tractor can change:

  • Whenever mounted equipment is raised, the center of gravity is also raised, decreasing tractor stability.
  • Any changes in weight from an attachment—such as a front-end loader, bale fork, and so on—or load can shift the center of gravity toward the weight.
  • Implements that are side mounted shift the center of gravity toward the attachment.

Tractor Stability

In addition to the center of gravity, other factors important to tractor stability include centrifugal force, rear-axle torque, and drawbar leverage.  

Centrifugal Force

Centrifugal force is the outward force of objects moving in a circular path. In regards to a tractor, centrifugal force is the force that is trying to roll the tractor over when it is making a turn. As the radius of the turn decreases (in a sharp turn) the centrifugal force increases. There is a relationship between centrifugal force and speed, but it is not directly proportional (for example, when the tractor speed is tripled from 3 mph to 9 mph, the centrifugal force increases 9 times). Since centrifugal force increases when turning, it is often a factor in a side overturn. The effect of this centrifugal force on stability is even greater when operating a tractor on sloped terrain.

Rear-Axle Torque

Rear-axle torque is the transfer of energy between the engine and the rear axle of a two-wheel drive tractor. When the clutch is engaged on this type of tractor, it results in a twisting force, or torque, which should rotate the tires and move the tractor forward or backward. If the rear tires are stuck (as in mud) or blocked from rotating, the rear axle is unable to rotate properly, so the tractor chassis rotates about the axle. This results in the front end of the tractor lifting off the ground, which can cause the tractor’s center of gravity to move past the rear stability baseline. This type of incident is called a rear overturn, and the “point of no return” (shown below) can occur in less than a second, which is not enough time for the operator to react and try to stop the rearward motion. A rear overturn incident with a four-wheel drive tractor can occur, but it occurs less frequently than with a two-wheel drive tractor because more weight is carried on the front axle, and the center of gravity is closer to the front of the tractor. By design, the front tires of four-wheel drive or front-wheel assist tractors have more traction and will not rise off the ground as easily as the wheels of a tractor with two-wheel drive.

Point of No Return Rear Tractor Overturn

(Image Source:Safety Management for Landscapers, Grounds-care Business, and Golf Courses, John Deere Publishing, 2001. Illustration reproduced by permission. All rights reserved)

Drawbar Leverage

Drawbar leverage is another stability factor in a rear overturn incident. When a two-wheel drive tractor is pulling a load, there is a backward and downward pull that causes the rear tires to become a pivot point. An “angle of pull” is created between the ground’s surface and the attachment point on the tractor that acts as a force to tip the tractor rearward. The drawbar on a tractor is designed to counteract the rearward tipping potential of pulled loads; however, when a load is attached to the tractor at any point other than the drawbar, the drawbar design is no longer effective in preventing rear overturn incidents.

Tractors are commonly used to pull stumps out of the ground. A tractor is hitched safely when the log chain is wrapped around the tree stump and attached to the tractor drawbar. The log chain is properly attached to the tractor drawbar, providing a lower “angle of pull” and decreasing the leverage necessary to tip a tractor rearward. Unsafe hitching occurs when the load is attached to a point other than the drawbar. If the log chain is attached to the rear axle instead of the drawbar, the “angle of pull” and leverage do not decrease as the tractor’s front end rises. When hitching to something that is higher than the drawbar hitch point, such as the rear axle, there is increased pressure on the rear tires. This might prevent the tractor tires from slipping and cause the front end to lift. Click here to view videos of tractor stability and tractor overturn incident demonstrations.

 

Use the following format to cite this article:

Tractor stability. (2014) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/70338/tractor-stability.

 

Sources

How can you maintain stability on various gradients? (2002) Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Retrieved from http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/safety_haz/tractors/stability.html.

Murphy, D. (2014) Tractor overturn hazards. Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, Cooperative Extension. Retrieved from http://extension.psu.edu/business/ag-safety/vehicles-and-machinery/tract….

Tractor stability (2012) Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Retrieved from http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/safety_haz/tractors/stability.html.

 

Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Andrew Merryweather, University of Utah – a.merryweather@utah.edu
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University – djm13@psu.edu
Charles V. Schwab, Iowa State University – cvschwab@iastate.edu
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu

Agricultural Vehicles in the Woods


Use the following format to cite this article:

Agricultural vehicles in the woods. (2014) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/70337/agricultural-vehicles-in-the-w….

 

The risk of safety related incidents is high when a farmer or rancher uses a farm tractor to cut trees, clear fence rows, and gather firewood.  The typical farm tractor is simply not designed for use in woodlots. A farm tractor lacks the safety components of timber harvest tractors or skidders, which include the following:

  • A heavy steel skid plate to protect the underside of the machine
  • A protective radiator grill
  • Engine side guards
  • 10- to 12-ply flat sidewall tires
  • Tire chains
  • Front-end weights
  • 10-pound ABC fire extinguisher
  • A spark-arrester exhaust system
  • A category II falling object projective structure (FOPS) with a seat belt
  • A protective grill for the rear window and sides of the FOPS cab
  • High ground clearance
  • Lateral stability
  • Nearly equal front- and rear-axle weight distribution.

The photo below is an example of a tractor equipped with a Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) and FOPS.

Tractor in the Woods

(Source: Lee Stover, L & E Stover Enterprises)

Dangerous Farm Tractor Usage

A rear overturn incident can occur with a farm tractor if a chain or cable is attached to a point higher on the tractor than the drawbar. Side overturn can occur when the farm tractor runs over a stump, rock, or tree trunk with a rear tire. Farm tractors equipped with a front-end loader should never be used to pull or push down limbs because the raised loader changes the center or gravity, placing the tractor at risk for a side overturn incident. Never use a farm tractor to complete forestry jobs such as pushing, dragging, or loading logs, without skid cones, log arches, three-point mounted grapples, or a skidding implement equipped with a three-point winch. These pieces of equipment reduce the risk of a log twisting or rolling out of the control while being dragged. Click here for more information on safe hitching.

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and Utility Vehicles (UTVs)

The potential for a tractor, ATV, or UTV overturn exists in woodlots because of uneven terrain and hidden obstacles such as rocks, roots, and stumps. Only specialized equipment such as timber harvest tractors and skidders should be used in woodlots. Felling of large trees for harvest should be completed by commercial operators with specialized equipment. Once a tree has been felled and located in a non-wooded area such as a fence row, the tree can be properly delimbed and sectioned for use on the farm or ranch. In order to remove the wood, you need to determine the best mode of transportation for the job and the environment.

ATVs towing wagons and UTVs with cargo beds or boxes continue to be popular choices, but it is important to understand their limitations. ATVs typically have lighter-duty suspension systems with less pulling and braking power, making them unsafe to complete most logging-type tasks. Some larger UTVs with a wider wheel base are equipped with a heavier frame and protective cage but still have limited capability in wooded areas.

When using a UTV or ATV to pull a trailer, the operator should be careful to observe the hauling capacity limits to reduce the risk of an incident. Check the manufacturer’s recommendation for any trailer that is being used to haul wood. Do not overload the trailer, and make sure that the wood is properly secured. The cargo box for each UTV has a recommended payload capacity that can vary between 500 and 1,400 pounds, depending on the make and model. It is extremely important to check the operator’s manual to determine the maximum payload capacity for your UTV. Keeping loads within the recommended payload capacity is essential to reducing the risk of an accident or potential damage to the UTV or ATV and trailer.

Extra precautions should be taken when using ATVs and UTVs in the woods for any activity. By hauling smaller amounts of wood slowly through a woodlot or along a trail that has been inspected for hidden obstacles, you can decrease the potential for an incident. Log arches can be used to stabilize smaller logs that need to be dragged from the woods, while reducing the possibility of the butt end of the log catching on a rock or stump or rolling sideways down uneven, sloping terrain. Consider winching logs that have fallen into precarious positions to a safer landing before using a light-duty ATV or UTV to pull them. The photo below shows an ATV using a log arch to safely transport logs on a path.

Log arch

Photo Source: Future Forestry Products, Inc. Log arch currently manufactured by Logrite of CT.

 

Additional Safety Recommendations:

  • If you are in the woods, inform other people of your location.
  • Always know the location of other people in your group, especially when felling a tree.
  • Make sure you have a complete first aid kit with you and have a basic understanding of first aid for severe bleeding, second-degree burns, and shock.

Resources

Click here to learn more about using your ATV on a farm or ranch.

Click here to learn more about chain saw safety.

 

Use the following format to cite this article:

Agricultural vehicles in the woods. (2014) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/70337/agricultural-vehicles-in-the-w….

 

Sources

Murphy, D., Stover, L., & Harshman, W. (2011) Tractors in the woods. Penn State Extension. Retrieved from https://extension.psu.edu/tractors-in-the-woods.

 

Reviewers, Contributors, and Summarized by:
Willard Downs, University of Missouri – Willard@missouri.edu
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Bobby Grisso, Jr., Virginia Tech – bgrisso@vt.edu
Bill Harshman, Pennsylvania State University (Has since retired)
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University (Has since retired)
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu 
 

Identifying and Correcting Hazards on Your Farm or Ranch

Tractor Safety Training

(Source: Penn State Ag Safety & Health)

Use the following format to cite this article:

Identifying and correcting hazards on your farm or ranch. (2013) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/69135/identifying-and-correcting-haz….

 

The majority of serious farm incidents involve machinery and equipment, but many hazards can be found in all areas of farm operations. Many of these incidents can be prevented through an inspection and correction of the hazard. The challenge is that most agricultural producers do not know how to properly assess and correct hazards on their farm operation.  

The Farm/Agriculture/Rural/Management-Hazard Analysis Tool (FARM-HAT) was developed by the Pennsylvania State University and is the most comprehensive on-line tool for assessing and identifying ways to correct hazards in 11 major categories including, but not limited to, farm operations, dwellings, agritourism, and tractors. FARM-HAT can be used by farmers, extension educators, insurance agents and others that are interested in improving the safety of a farm operation, equipment or rural enterprise.  

Take the inspection of your farm operation very seriously and also recruit other farm family members to participate in the process. Inspections can be done at various times of the year. Consider inspecting yours tractors and machinery over the winter so that you have time to complete repairs before the spring when you are preparing for the planting season.

In addition to FARM-HAT, other resources are available for specialized inspections including barns, machinery and tractors. Listed below are links to checklists for farm operations.

Resource Links – Pick a Site and Start Your Farm Inspection:

  1. FARM-HAT (Penn State University)
  2. Evaluate Equipment for Dangers (Iowa State University)
  3. Your Personal Farm Safety Audit (Agricultural Safety and Health Network)

 

Use the following format to cite this article:

Identifying and correcting hazards on your farm or ranch. (2013) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/69135/identifying-and-correcting-haz….

 

Citations:

Farm/Agricultural/Rural Management Hazard Analysis Tool. (2010) Penn State Agricultural Safety and Health. Retrieved from http://extension.psu.edu/business/ag-safety/farmhat.

Folsom, R. (2009) Barn and farm inspection checklist. Virginia Cooperative Extension. Retrieved from https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/48862/VCE_Barn_Farm….

Hanna, M., Schwab, C., and Miller, L. (1998) Evaluate equipment for dangers. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Retrieved from http://nasdonline.org/2469/d002295/safe-farm-evaluate-equipment-for-dang….

Tractor Safety Checklist (n.d.). Canadian Agricultural Safety Association.  Retrieved from http://aghealth.usask.ca/resources/documents/TractorModulePDF.pdf.

 

Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University – djm13@psu.edu
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu

A Guide to Teaching Safe Tractor Operation

Tractor Safety Driving Course

Tractor Safety Driving Course

(Source: Pennsylvania State University, Agricultural Safety and Health Program)

The Agricultural Safety and Health Program of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University has developed a manual called Organizing and Conducting a Safe Tractor Operation Workshop to assist agricultural producers, employers, and other experienced operators in organizing and conducting hands-on workshops that address safety practices for tractor operators. Hands-on tractor operation training is valuable because many new owners, operators, and workers are entering occupations such as production agriculture, agricultural services, forestry, landscaping, and golf-course maintenance that rely on agricultural tractors to complete tasks.

Fewer people grow up learning how to operate tractors and equipment, so the manual is useful for training individuals with varying levels of tractor-driving experience and ability. In addition to training people involved in production agriculture, the manual can also be used to train volunteers who mow such places as school yards or churchyards, cemeteries, athletic fields, community parks, and the grounds at civic organizations such as the Lions Club.

The manual is a comprehensive guide that provides information about the following topics:

  • Choosing instructors, tractors, equipment, and driving courses
  • Driving and operating tractors and equipment safely
  • Conducting training workshops

The manual also includes performance evaluation forms.

To access the manual, click here to visit the website.

 

 
 
Reviewed and Summarized by:
Glen Blahey, Canadian Agricultural Safety Association -GBlahey@casa-acsa.ca

Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University  lmf8@psu.edu
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University  djm13@psu.edu
Michael Pate, Utah State University  michael.pate@usu.edu

Mechanical Hazards: Pinch Points

Chain Sprocket

(Source: Penn State Ag Safety and Health)

Use the following format to cite this article:

Mechanical hazards: Pinch points. (2013). Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://www.extension.org/pages/68327/mechanical-hazards:-pinch-points.

 

A pinch point is an area where two or more rotating parts move together with at least one part moving in a circle. These rotating parts may move at high rates of speed, making it difficult for an individual to pull free once caught. Injuries can occur when a person touches a belt or chain, tries to clear debris from drive wheels, or falls into or brushes against a belt or pinch point, or when loose clothing becomes entangled, drawing fingers, hands, and feet into a pinch point.

Examples of pinch points on farms and ranches include the following:

  • Chain drives
  • Feed rollers
  • Gears
  • Sprockets
  • Belt drives
  • Pulley drives
  • Conveyors

Potential Injuries

The types of injuries that can be sustained when working around pinch points include the following:

  • Amputations
  • Lacerations
  • Contusions
  • Crushing of tissues or bones
  • Broken bones

Safety Precautions

Listed below are ways that you can reduce your risk of a pinch point incident:

  • Identify machines that might have pinch points.
  • Make sure all shields are securely in place to cover pinch point areas. Replace heavily worn or broken shields.
  • Watch your footing and move slowly around pinch point areas. 
  • Wear clothing that fits well because close-fitting clothing is less likely to be pulled into moving parts.
  • Remove any jewelry, tie or secure long hair under a hat, and remove drawstrings on hoods or jackets when working around pinch point areas.
  • Turn off the machine and wait for any rotating parts to come to a complete stop before beginning any type of maintenance.
  • If a shield is removed to complete maintenance, make sure the shield is securely in place prior to operating the equipment.
  • Place and maintain warning labels near pinch point hazards.

Resources

Click here to view a video about pinch point hazards from the Pennsylvania State University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program.

 

Use the following format to cite this article:

 

Mechanical hazards: Pinch points. (2013). Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://www.extension.org/pages/68327/mechanical-hazards:-pinch-points.

 

 

Sources

Agricultural equipment and machine hazards. (2016). The Ohio State University. Retrieved from http://agsafety.osu.edu/programs/cfaes-osha/ag-equipment-machine-hazards.

American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), 2008. ANSI/ASAE S493.1. Guarding for agricultural equipment. St. Joseph, MI. Retrieved from http://elibrary.asabe.org.

Harshman, W., Yoder, A., Hilton, J., & Murphy, D. (2011) Mechanical hazards. HOSTA Task Sheet 3.1. Pennsylvania State University Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/sites/default/files/Version%203.%20January….

Safety note #22: Pinch point hazards. (2004) University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Environmental Health and Safety. Retrieved from http://safety.ucanr.org/files/1413.pdf.

 

Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Ron C. Jester, University of Delaware (Has since retired)
Gail Lapierre, University of Vermont (Has since retired)
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University (Has since retired)
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu

Mechanical Hazards: Shear or Cutting Points

Guarded Auger

Guarded Auger. Photo Source: Penn State Ag Safety & Health

 

Use the following format to cite this article:

Mechanical hazards: Shear or cutting points. (2013). Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://www.extension.org/pages/68264/mechanical-hazards:-shear-or-cutting-points

 

A shear point hazard exists when the edges of two machine parts move across each other or move closely enough together to cut another object or move a relatively soft material. In a typical shear point hazard, one part moves while the other part is either stationary or moving. Cutting points occur when a single object moves forcefully or rapidly enough to cut another object.

Examples of shear or cutting points include the following:

  • Hedge trimmers
  • Windrow cutter bars
  • Grain augers
  • Sickle bar mowers 
  • Forage harvester cutter heads 
  • Rotary mower blades

Potential Injuries

Potential injuries from shear or cutting point hazards include amputation, lacerations, contusions, crushing of tissue, and broken bones. Due to the speed of mechanical parts, injury is inevitable when a body part comes in contact with a shear or cutting point. Projectile injuries can occur if an object is thrown from a cutting-type machine such as a rotary mower.

Shear and Cutting Point Safety Precautions

Follow the precautions below to reduce the risk of a shear point incident:

  • Identify those types of machines that may have shear or cutting points.
  • Make sure all covers and protective shields are in place on machinery and equipment. Replace heavily worn or broken shields.
  • Wear clothing that fits well because close-fitting clothing is less likely to be pulled into moving parts.
  • Remove any jewelry, tie or secure long hair under a hat, and remove drawstrings on hoods or jackets when working around shear point hazards.
  • Turn off machines and wait for any rotating parts to come to a complete stop before beginning any type of maintenance.
  • If a shield is removed to complete maintenance, make sure the shield is securely in place again prior to operating the equipment.
  • Replace damaged manufacturer-installed warning labels and place warning labels on unlabeled areas.
  • Never reach across a shear or cutting point hazard.

Resources:

Click here to view a video about shear point hazards from Pennsylvania State University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program.

Click here to use the Farm/Agriculture/Rural Management—Hazard Analysis Tool (FARM-HAT) to determine the protection level of your auger.

 

Use the following format to cite this article:

Mechanical hazards: Shear or cutting points. (2013). Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://www.extension.org/pages/68264/mechanical-hazards:-shear-or-cutting-points.

 

Sources:

Agricultural equipment and machine hazards. (2016) The Ohio State University. Retrieved from http://agsafety.osu.edu/programs/cfaes-osha/ag-equipment-machine-hazards.

American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). (2008) ANSI/ASAE S493.1. Guarding for agricultural equipment. St. Joseph, MI. Retrieved from http://elibrary.asabe.org.

Farm/Agriculture/Rural Management—Hazard Analysis Tool (FARM-HAT). (2010) Pennsylvania State University. Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Agricultural Safety and Health. Retrieved from https://extension.psu.edu/farm-agriculture-rural-management-hazard-analy….

 
Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Ron C. Jester, University of Delaware (Has since retired)
Gail Lapierre, University of Vermont (Has since retired)
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University (Has since retired)
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu