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Safety Tips | Machinery

Proper hitching to a tractor

June 1, 2009

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Improper hitching to a tractor can cause severe injury and even death. NIOSH warns that attaching a tow chain at a point above the tractor’s drawbar can cause the vehicle to roll over backward – a highly dangerous occurrence. Data from the agency indicates 60 percent of rear rollover incidents could be attributed to improper hitching. To mitigate these risks, NIOSH offers the following tips:

  • Be sure tractor operators are properly trained in safe use of the equipment.
  • Use farm equipment with rollover protective structures, and always wear a safety belt.
  • Carefully select the hitching point to the tractor – never attach a load directly to the axle.
  • Never use a two- or three-point hitch instead of a drawbar. If a load attaches by a single point, attach it only to the drawbar.
  • Do not alter the drawbar by raising or shortening it.
  • Be certain the tow chain is strong enough and long enough to allow for adequate stopping distance between the towed object and vehicle to avoid collisions and rear rollovers.
  • When using a tractor to free an embedded vehicle, hitch the vehicles front-to-front and drive the towing tractor in reverse to reduce the risk of rollover.

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