Preventing Falls and Runovers

Falling off the tractor and being runover, either by the tractor or the implement being pulled, account for about a third of fatal and serious injuries involving tractors.

Causes of Falls and Runovers

  • Being thrown off the operator seat when the tractor hits a hole, stump, or ditch.
  • Extra Riders
  • “Jump” starting the tractor when standing beside it.
  • Trying to mount or dismount when the tractor is moving.
  • Slipping on the steps or platform when mounting or dismounting.
  • Leaving the deck of the machine cluttered with tools and other items.
  • Riding on the tongue or any part of the implement being towed.
  • The operator not aware of where others are when the machine is started and put in motion.
  • Leaving the parking brake off when parking the tractor especially on a slope.
  • Poor maintenance of brakes and clutches.
  • An operator’s foot slipping off the clutch when hitching implements or working on the machine.
  • Poorly trained and physically unfit operators.

Prevention Falls and Runovers

  • Never bypass the safety start systems that do not allow the tractor to start in gear without depressing the clutch. When jump-starting a tractor, always connect cables to the battery and not the starter so as not to bypass the safety start system.
  • Do not allow extra riders. The ONLY time extra riders should be allowed is for training purposes.
  • Slow down on rough ground or where hidden obstacles might be encountered.
  • When going into a strange field or one that you have not been in for a while, stop and shut off the tractor and walk over potential problem areas.
  • Never try to mount or dismount a tractor or machine when it is moving. Keep platforms dry.
  • Always shut off the engine and apply the parking brake before dismounting the tractor.
  • Operators should take frequent rest breaks to maintain alertness.
  • Always start the tractor from the operator’s seat.
  • Train all operators thoroughly.
  • Maintain equipment in top operating condition.
  • Install ROPS (Roll Over Protective Structure), and seat belts! However if your tractor does not have ROPS, do not wear a seat belt!
  • Never ride on the implement, especially on the tongue.

Compiled by John Fouts. For more infromation, contact WSU Extension, (509) 477-2048.