Tractors are among the most used and valued pieces of equipment in agribusiness. Not only are they used every day, they can be used all day long by different workers. It may come to no surprise that tractors are the primary source for most agricultural related fatalities.
- Highway Collisions
Accidents involving agricultural tractors kill approximately 250 people a year and are by far the leading cause of death and serious injury in agriculture. Rollovers account for over half of those fatalities annually. It is estimated that 95% of tractor fatalities could be avoided.
Complacency is a lack of vigilance due to familiarity with a task. Once employees have been fulfilling their roll for an extended period of time, their confidence grows and their awareness can dip resulting in a lack of concentration and foresight. It’s easy to see how workers can go into autopilot and stop paying attention to what they are actually doing, especially when you take into account the repetitive nature of the tasks they perform.
I Know What I’m Doin’
Not only can workers get over confident in their abilities, they can start to believe accidents won’t happen to them. Common phrases such as “I’ve done this many times; I know what I’m doing” creep into the mind. This form of self-talk is nothing more than an excuse for bypassing appropriate safety measures. An example of this could be mowing a steep hillside without rollover protection and a seatbelt.
Overlooked Realities of Tractors
There are three realities that people tend to overlook when it comes to operating tractors. First is the sheer weight of the tractor itself. Whether it’s an roll-over or a run-over situation, it is difficult to grasp the gross weight of the vehicle and the damage of being crushed will do. Second is the speed in which these accidents can happen. An individual’s reaction time is no match for how quickly an incident can occur. Third is the massive power or the tractor itself. From as little as 20 horsepower on up, the power of a tractor is hard to comprehend. Keeping these three factors in perspective can give a novice operator to the most experienced, a new found respect for the tractor and the job at hand.