Tractor safety

tractor safety

Tractors are generally quite safe to use if operated correctly and fitted with roll over protection structures (ROPS). However tractors remain the most common cause of death and serious injury on farms. Tractors are designed for adults to use, not children.

When not used safely, tractors can be involved in runovers, rollovers and falls. Accidents can happen while hitching equipment, by power take-offs and hydraulics, while towing and during general tractor operation.

Always follow the safety instructions for your tractor, particularly when you stop or start the tractor. Passengers should never, ever be allowed to ride on tractors.

Inexperienced people should not drive tractors.

When you buy a tractor, make sure the tractor has:

  • Roll-over protective structures
  • Falling-object protective structures
  • Appropriate guards in place
  • A cabin if possible as it will protect you from sun, dust and other elements
  • Adequate ventilation

Farm safety – machinery
Machinery is responsible for many deaths and injuries each year on farms. Particular culprits include tractors and quad bikes. Common tractor accidents involve roll-overs, run-overs and unguarded power take-off shafts. All tractors must have roll-over protection and always use seat belts. Don’t let passengers, in particular children, ride on or in a tractor.
Find out more about this topic on Better Health Channel

References used for tractor safety topic page

More information:

Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety
Tractors and machinery

WorkCover Queensland
Tractor safety precautions

Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne
Farm safety

Safe Work Australia

Worksafe NT
Tractor and Rural Machinery Safety

Worksafe NT
Safety alert – Safe use of tractors [PDF]

Research & reviews:

American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Effectiveness of roll-over protective structures in reducing farm tractor fatalities (2000)

Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
Farm machinery injury: injury involving tractor run-over [PDF 434kb]

Fast facts:

Tractor safety

  • If you buy a tractor make sure it has a roll over protection structure (ROPS).  If you have a tractor without ROPS, have one fitted, it could save your life.
  • Make sure everyone who uses the tractor is trained in safe operating procedures.
  • Don’t operate your tractor close to dams, pipes, drains or power lines, on steep slopes or near other potential hazards.
  • Drive at a speed where you can stay in control if the conditions change unexpectedly.
  • Keep children away from tractors at all times.
  • Never carry passengers on a tractor.

Last updated: 6th February, 2019