Operating Agricultural Machinery: 8 Essential Safety Tips

Agriculture is one of the most important industries. Without it, billions of people would go without food. But it's one ofthe most dangerous industries as well. More Australians got injured or died in agriculture than in most other industries, according to Safe Work Australia's statistics for 2015.

By following important safety tips, you can lower your risk for accident and injury at work. Both new and seasoned agricultural employees should pay attention to these safety tips for operating agricultural machinery.

1. Undergo Training

Before you operate machinery, makesure you receive all necessary training. If you area new employee, you should receive a period of training and observation. If you are asupervisor, make sure your employees train on all safety features. Make sure they know what to do in an emergency situation as well. Train them in first aid and CPR.

2. Communicate Your Whereabouts

Even if you have years of experience working with agricultural machinery, thing scan still go wrong. If an accident occurs when you arealone, you might not get necessarymedical help in time. If you are going to work alone, make sure you tell someone where you will be. Bring a mobile phone with you as well.

3. Wear the Right Clothing

Loose clothing can get caught on machinery and cause injury. Make sure you don't wear the following items as you operate agricultural equipment:

  • Ties
  • Unbuttoned shirtcuffs
  • Loose jackets
  • Jewellery

Clothing can also help you avoid excess sun exposure, which can lead to skin cancer. Hats, long-sleeved shirts and long pants can protect you from the sun.

4. Wear a Seat Belt

Just as in a car, wearing a seat belt while driving machinery is incredibly important. Also make sure your tractor has a roll-over protective structure, which will protect you if the tractor turns over.

5. Keep Others Away

While children can help with some farming tasks, they shouldn't operate machinery. Don't allow children and others to ride with you in the vehicle, because they could be at risk for falling off. Make sure co-workers and others are clear from your path before you begin operating the vehicle.

6. Watch the Terrain

Driving agricultural machinery takes a high level of concentration. You'll need to watch for ditches and holes. If you notice major hazards, mark them so you know to avoid them in the future. Also, pay attention to the sloping of the land, and drives lowly as you go over these slopes.

7. Get Repairs Immediately

When the tractor won't start, some operators try bypassing the normal starting procedures. This manoeuvre is very dangerous. If the tractor is in gear, it can move forward unexpectedly and hit someone in its path. If your tractor has trouble starting or does not start in neutral, take it in for repairs right away.

8. Choose a Comfortable Seat

A good seat not only keeps you comfortable, but italso helps you avoid injury. Adequate cushioning stops the machine's vibrations from passing to your body and causing intense back pain. Also, operating a machine requires you to turn around and look behind you, which can hurt your back. Choose a seat with back angle adjustment that moves with your body as you turn. Other important chair features include:

  • Height adjustment
  • Vertical suspension
  • Lumbar support
  • Adjustable armrests
  • Backrest extension

If you spend many hours riding in your machine, these features can make your work time more comfortable and can help you avoid back and neck pain. These safety tips can help you avoid any type ofinjury: both severe, immediate injuries and injuries like back pain that develop slowly. Follow these tips and stay safe on the job.