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Nationwide: Tractor Safety Guidelines

Practices and Procedures for Your Safety

Keep yourself and others safe on the farm by following these simple rules.

Studies show tractors are involved in a high proportion of farm injuries and fatalities, causing productivity losses, serious injury and loss of life. Fortunately, you can prevent most accidents by staying vigilant and following a few basic tractor safety guidelines.

Overall, it's crucial to develop a "safety-first" attitude on your farm. Always follow safe work practices, and set a good example for others. Remember, whenever you work with heavy machinery, there is an element of risk. Use caution at all times, and always be aware of your surroundings.

Primary hazards

According to Nationwide agribusiness insurance experts, most farm tractor accidents involve five major areas: rollovers, run overs, road accidents, blind spots and entanglements. Here are tips to prevent each.


Be sure your tractor is equipped with a ROPS (rollover protective structure) and a seat belt. Use the seat belt. Back up steep slopes. Check for uneven ground or large obstacles. Avoid wet or muddy fields. Drive tractors slowly.

Run overs

Always turn the engine off when you're not in the driver's seat. Never allow extra riders; it's distracting and unsafe - riders could fall from the seat or cab while moving.

Road accidents

Tractors should not be operated on the highways without flashing lights and reflective Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblems displayed on the rear of any machinery, even if being towed. Stay aware of any traffic around you, and stay as far over to the right of the road as practical. Slow down before turning.

Blind spots

Never allow children to play or hide around tractors or other equipment. Walk all the way around tractors and other equipment before operating to ensure you are aware of anything in your path.


Be sure your PTO (power take-off) shield is in place or replace it if needed. Always walk around an operating PTO, not over it. Do not wear loose fitting clothing or allow loose, long hair around machinery with moving parts. Disengage the PTO, and turn the engine off before trying to manually clear a clogged machine or attach equipment.

Special Member Savings

At Southern States®, we are proud to be one of the nation's largest farmer-owned cooperatives. Southern States has partnered with Nationwide® Agribusiness Insurance to offer Southern States Cooperative member-producers in North Carolina and Virginia special discounts on insurance. In addition to giving you exclusive insurance savings, we're also joining forces to support the cooperative that means so much to you.

Nationwide® Agribusiness is the number 1 insurer of farms in the U.S. and a leading insurer of commercial agribusiness. Go to to find a local agent.

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