Modern farm tractors provide most of the muscle power needed for today's high output agricultural enterprises. Tractors are more common on farms than any other piece of equipment and are used to carry mounted and semi-mounted implements, to transport equipment and materials, to pull tillage equipment and wagons and as remote power sources for other equipment
Unfortunately every year, tractor accidents result in serious disabling injuries and tragic loss of life. Losses due to property damage, medical bills, time off work, reduced productivity and insurance costs are considerable. The major causes of injury and death to tractor operators are rollovers, falls and contact with tractor attachments.
Statistics show that in Ontario 244 people died as a result of tractor-related accidents between 1980 and 1994. This accounted for almost 48% of the total fatalities for that period. Clearly one-half of all fatalities are caused by this agent of death. The vast majority (about half) of these fatalities were tractor rollovers to the side or the rear.
During a recent eight year period in Ontario, there were more than 450 hospitalizations for accidents involving farm tractors. The average length of stay in hospital was 10 days for these injuries with a maximum for one individual of 130 days for an accident involving a power takeoff shaft contact.
Manufacturers are continually improving the design of tractors to make them more safe. However, they are unable, as yet, to build in mechanisms which recognize unsafe conditions. Tractor operators who know their machine and are aware of the hazards which may occur, are better equipped to avoid a tractor mishap.