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Preventing tractor rollovers: OSHA publishes guide

farmer tractor
Photo: Avalon_Studio/iStockphoto

Washington — OSHA has released a guide intended to protect farmworkers from tractor rollovers, which result in about 130 fatal injuries a year.

Released Jan. 17, the guide states that the use of rollover protective structures bolsters safe tractor operations, noting that “the safety of operators is increased when tractors are equipped with a roll bar or cage frame around the operator.”

OSHA advises employers to educate workers on safe tractor operations before work begins, as well as annually. In addition, employers should replace rollover protective structures if a rollover occurs, ensure the structures meet OSHA standards and maintain the manufacturer labeling on structures at all times.

Among the agency’s tips for workers:

  • Fasten seat belts securely and reduce speed when operating tractors near ditches, slopes and waterways.
  • Don’t transport passengers.
  • Steer clear of slopes too steep for safe operation.
  • Avoid sharp turns and sudden starts or stops.
  • Set brakes when stopping. Use parking locks if available.

Performing regular tractor inspections and maintenance can limit rollovers and worker injuries, the guidance states. Workers should:

  • Check batteries, fuel tanks, oil reservoirs and coolant system seals to prevent spilling.
  • Inspect and remove any sharp edges and corners on equipment.
  • Keep foldable rollover protective structures in the “up” position, unless driving near low-clearance objects or buildings.
  • Only use self-made protective structures if they comply with OSHA test procedures and performance requirements.

The resources is available in both English and Spanish.

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