John Peterson and his family raise corn and soybeans on 1,600 acres near North Branch where he has practiced no-till planting since the 1990s. Technology has radically changed the way he farms, he says, noting that he trades for new a new $350,000 combine and three tractors each year to minimize maintenance and other costs. – MCT
John Peterson and his family raise corn and soybeans on 1,600 acres near North Branch where he has practiced no-till planting since the 1990s. Technology has radically changed the way he farms, he says, noting that he trades for new a new $350,000 combine and three tractors each year to minimize maintenance and other costs. – MCT

Archived Story

New features on farm equipment make it safer for users

Published 11:00am Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Farm safety is a top concern for farmers and equipment retailers alike.

Cory Newman, service manager for Kibble Equipment — a tractor and machinery dealer with locations in Kiester and Albert Lea — said farm safety has improved over the last 20 years.

“The equipment has definitely gotten a lot safer,” Newman said.

Newman has worked at Kibble Equipment for the last 20 years, first as a service technician.

As service manager, he coordinates work for technicians at the Albert Lea and Kiester locations of Kibble Equipment. Newman doesn’t farm himself — he doesn’t have the time — but regularly works with farmers and farm equipment.

Neutral safety switches, power take-off shields and seat switchers are features that keep farmers safe, said Newman.

These features make newer equipment, such as tractors, more safe, he said.

Newman said features, like seat switches, shut everything off, which results in fewer accidents.

He said he has only heard of two incidents in the last 20 years where someone has been injured or killed as the result of the equipment.

Al Anderson, a salesman at Ag Power Enterprises in Hollandale, also agreed that farm equipment has gotten safer.

He agreed that power take off shields are an important safety feature. Anderson advised people in grain bins to be very careful as not to get sucked into the grain bin.

He said to avoid having children near farm equipment, including on your lap when mowing the lawn.

Here are a few other farm equipment facts and safety tips:

 

Neutral start switches

Neutral start switches prevent tractors from starting if they are in any gear but neutral. This keeps the tractor in place when being started.

 

Power take-off shields

Power take-off shafts are used to transmit power from a tractor or other source of power to an implement.

The PTO shields protect equipment users from the PTO shafts. The typical PTO shaft can produce second degree burns, grind away skin, muscles, tendons and skin, and is very dangerous, according to a press release from agmachinery.edu. The news release offered these tips for dealing with PTO shafts:

• It is important to regularly check the shield for damage. If it cannot be repaired, it is important to replace it, according to the release. The average PTO shield should cost less than $50.

• Keep a safe distance away from the PTO shaft when in use. The safest distance is twice your height.

• Keep all children away.

• Pay attention. Most accidents occur because the person was caught off guard.

• Avoid wearing loose clothing around any machinery to avoid it catching.

• When stopping the machinery for any reason, take the PTO out of gear, stop the engine and set the brake. Put the keys in your pocket before working on the machinery.

• If something goes wrong, the machine should be shut off immediately.

 

General safety tips

• Ensure all vehicles and trailers have mirrors, lights and indicators in good working order.

• Children are involved in one third of all accidents, so educate them on safety and regularly reinforce that message.

• Be careful when repairing any equipment. Always seek the help of a trained professional if you are unsure.

• Make sure all animals are securely fenced in.

• Regularly wash your hands to keep from getting sick.

• Be mindful of your surroundings.