The National Safety Council ranked farming as one of the most dangerous occupations in 2009. In addition to thousands of injuries occurring, hundreds of workers die on farms every year. The improper use of tractors causes some of these injuries and deaths; however, basic safety fundamentals can keep farm workers safe. Kubota is a Japanese company that began offering tractors in the U.S. market in 1972 and has sold 1.5 million units as of July 2011. The company focuses on safety education and offers specific tips for operators of Kubota tractors.
Tractor operators should familiarize themselves with the operator’s manual for their Kubota tractor. Kubota also recommends that tractor drivers be familiar with the terrain on their farms, “Walk the area first to identify any debris or obstacles that could hinder your ability to drive safely.” Like any tractor, Kubota tractors are prone to tipping on steep slopes and tight turns.
Take Time to Be Safe
Shortcuts can cause serious or fatal accidents. Instead of stepping between your Kubota tractor and the attached implement, walk around the tractor to avoid contact with the power take-off (PTO). Kubota notes that “The PTO rotates with enough speed and strength to kill you.”
Shut down the tractor before climbing off, and never refuel while the engine is running. Open the garage door before starting your Kubota tractor to avoid carbon monoxide build-up, which can cause death.
Safety Features of Kubota Tractors
Kubota tractors are equipped with seat belts, which should always be fastened whenever the tractor is in operation.
Since 1985, Kubota has included rollover protective structures on all of their tractors. Kubota states, “They generally will limit a side overturn to ninety degrees (90°) and will provide an important safety zone for the operator provided the operator is wearing the seat belt.” Some Kubota tractors feature folding rollover protective structures that can be folded down to create a lower vertical clearance. Once the tractor is no longer affected by low clearance conditions, the rollover protective structure should be returned to the upright position and locked into place.
Proper use of the rollover protective structure and the seat belt on every Kubota tractor greatly reduces the chance of being crushed under the tractor should it tip or roll over.
Children and Tractor Safety
Kubota recommends that children do not operate its tractors. The company clearly states: “Keep all children off and away from your tractor and its implements at all times.” Children should not ride on the lap of the operator, or stand anywhere on the tractor. Your Kubota tractor should not be operated in an area where children are playing.
Kubota Retrofit Program
People who own Kubota tractors manufactured prior to 1985 can contact the company to have their equipment retrofitted with a seatbelt and rollover protective structure. As of 2010, Kubota estimated that it had installed more than 11,500 rollover protective structure retrofits.