Farm and Tractor Safety

Important to Maintain All Safety Equipment


By Rick Worthington, with Ag Information Network

Rollovers or overturns are involved in about half of the fatal tractor accidents and are responsible for many disabling injuries and much property damage.

With the use of protective frames and crush-resistant cabs with seat belts, the number of serious and fatal injuries from such accidents should decrease. Rollovers are generally due to driving too fast for conditions; striking surface hazards such as rocks, stumps and holes; running into ditches; hitching high for extra traction; driving on steep slopes; and operating front-end loaders improperly. Tractor upsets also occur when handling large round hay bales and other heavy loads with front-end loaders.

Falls from moving tractors often result in serious and sometimes fatal injuries. Many times the victim is a child, but operators and adult riders can also fall. Falls often occur from smaller and/or older tractors used around the farmstead, where extra riders and overhead hazards are more common than in fields.

Another cause of tractor-related death and serious injury is being caught by, or entangled in, rotating power takeoff (PTO) shafts. In most cases, the PTO shields were inadequate or had been removed.

Other tractor-connected injuries and damage involve:

  • Colliding with motor vehicles or roadside objects;
  • Slipping and falling while mounting and dismounting;
  • Running over bystanders;
  • Striking overhead hazards;
  • Being struck by flying objects, broken parts, or hydraulic fluid;
  • Being crushed by a poorly supported tractor during repair work;
  • Sustaining cuts, bruises, burns and other nuisance, but painful injuries, connected with maintenance and routine operation;
  • Being overcome by exhaust gases inside closed buildings;
  • Being burned by fires that erupt during refueling or as a result of a collision or upset.

Food Safety Is Paramount In California Agriculture

Researchers Hone in on Bacteria Genome to Isolate Pathogens

By Laurie Greene, Founding Editor

Food safety is paramount in the specialty crop farm industry; but when a bacterium causes a food safety problem, there is important work to determine the exact fingerprint of that bacteria.

Matthew Stasiewicz, assistant professor of applied food microbiology in the area of food safety at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, said it’s important to determine the genome of these bacteria that are causing problems.

“The biggest thing that has happened in the field of food safety is that the U.S. government has committed to using whole genome sequencing as a primary public health surveillance tool. So, if you have a foodborne disease and go to a doctor, and they isolate that organism, it will go into a nationwide database—now international database—that can link that organism’s genome sequence to whatever else shows up in the database. So, at the same time, if pathogens are isolated from foods potentially as part of an outbreak, those sequences can be [entered into the database] and [experts can] gather information from food sources as well as clinical patients. And that’s just a major tool.”

Stasiewicz said the genome is important because we need to know the true source of that bacteria. “The pathogens that can make you sick can be distributed in the environment.

So just because you potentially got sick from eating food and maybe you got an E.coli O157:H7 infection in your hometown, even if someone else two towns away got the same infection with E.coli O157:H7, we don’t know if that’s related, even if you potentially ate the same food,” Stasiewicz said. “That could come from the soil in your town, your local grower, a local grower somewhere else, or from a common source, common grower, or common packer, and gotten you both sick. This genome sequence information allows us to make those links much more clearly.”

Stasiewicz said this is an important pioneering effort to reduce food safety illnesses. “Importantly, from the food standpoint,” Stasiewicz said, “we want that information so we can find that and eliminate it. No food processor wants to make anyone sick. No grower wants to make anyone sick. So, we need to identify those concerns.”

Farm Safety is Critically Important

Nut Harvest Safety – Part 3

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Farm safety is extremely important. The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the farming industry saw about 600 fatalities across the country last year. More than 200 laborers are injured in the U.S. on a daily basis. Many of these injuries result in permanent disability.

Paul Williams

Safety is not just important on the road; electrical safety is also a hot topic, noted Paul Williams, a senior loss prevention consultant for State Compensation Insurance Fund.

“We always talk about lock-out, tag-out, chocking and blocking tires, and before you make any repairs, making sure that equipment is shut off, and then doing repairs in the field,” he said.

Yet, many people are lost every year at harvest when they decide to make repairs in the field with just a quick adjustment.

“Sometimes people are in a hurry, they’re impatient, they’re tired, maybe fatigue sets in there; too easy to get caught in moving parts,” Williams said.

Although many ranchers have mechanics they go to, some choose to ‘fix’ the problem themselves.

“It’s the seasonal guys, the guys that aren’t trained, they’re trying to do good work but they try to do things they’re not trained to do. … This is why many ranchers stress that employees not be afraid to ask for help,” Williams said.

For more information on safety on the farm, go to: