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Applying Safety Standards In The Agricultural Industry

1351 words - 6 pages

Old MacDonald had a farm, S-A-F-E-T-Y. While these are not the tradional lyrics of the popular nursery rhyme that is sung today, had that iconic farmer been a better speller, it very well could have been. Old MacDonald was a wise, experienced soul, and in his latter years of life, he created the song to remind young farmers of the importance of safety on a farm. However, are safety procedures on a farm really necessary? According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the average fatality rate for agricultural workers is seven times higher than the average rate of workers, and in 2011, 570 workers died while they were working on a farm (“Agricultural”). Farmers work very hard to provide food for the nation; they also put themselves in dangerous situations when they use heavy equipment. Therefore, farmers need to be aware of the many hazards they may encounter while working on a farm and the steps they can take to ensure their safety.
While industrialized equipment has allowed for more efficient food production, farm machinery can also be a safety hazard. For over a decade, the leading cause of death among farmers has been tractor rollovers; however, practical steps can be taken to avoid an overturn or survive an overturn if one does occur. The rolling hills of West Virginia make for a picturesque setting, but they also make tractor operation hazardous. A farmer in West Virginia would be wise to buy a wide front-end tractor and to use wide wheel spacing because a wider tractor provides more stability on a side slope. Proper ballasting of a tractor gives the driver stability, as well as control. While a farmer is utilizing heavy equipment on the rear end of a tractor, he should counterbalance the front end with additional weights and check to make sure the front wheels do not lift from the ground. When front-end loaders are used, extra rear weights should be applied, or the driver could lose the ability to control the movement and brakes of the tractor. Certainly, a little extra time and preparation is worth the preservation of life (Prather).
While operating a tractor, a driver needs to be very cautious and aware of his surroundings. Tractor operators need to be cognizant of their speed while they are operating equipment, for rollovers can occur on relatively flat ground if the operators do not take the attached implements and terrain into consideration. Unexpected bumps and depressions like groundhog holes can be dangerous obstacles, and farmers also need to be weary of areas with poor traction like mud, ice, and snow. In addition, a tractor operator should keep a tractor's center of gravity relatively low. One farmer overturned his tractor after making a turn with the front-end loader elevated. When the height of the center of gravity increases, a tractor is more likely to tip over. When attempting to travel uphill, a farmer would be wise to back up a slope. If a farmer tries to move forward up a steep hill, the...

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