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
Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety
Tractors and machinery
Tractor safety precautions
Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne
Safe Work Australia
Tractor and Rural Machinery Safety
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]
Last updated: 6th February, 2019