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Tractor safety precautions

Find information about tractor safety precautions, roll-over protective structures and falling object protective structures.

General safety precautions

  • Read and follow all of the manufacturer's operating instructions
  • Ensure tractor drivers have completed specialised training for the particular farm needs
  • A rollover protective structure (ROPS) must be fitted to the tractor in accordance with s. 216 Roll-over protection on tractors of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011
  • ROPS must comply with the design and testing requirements specified in AS1636.1-1996 Tractors – Roll-over protective structures – Criteria and tests or an equivalent standard
  • Wear comfortable, well-fitting clothing and boots
  • Wear hearing protection when driving tractors without cabins
  • Wear a seat belt where fitted
  • Adjust the seat so that all controls can be operated comfortably and safely
  • Keep children away from tractors and machinery
  • Keep all guards in place, including power take off (PTO) and master shield guards
  • Do not carry passengers unless there is a designated seat and seat belt within the protective zone of the ROPS

Hitching implements

  • Fit attachments according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • When attaching equipment, always use the mounting points or draw bar provided by the manufacturer. Do not use improvised methods.
  • Do not alter, modify, or raise the height of the draw bar outside of those adjustments made by the manufacturer.
  • When a power implement is attached to the tractor ensure all guards are in place before operating.
  • Never hitch above the centre-line of the rear axle, around the axle housing or to the top link pin.
  • Do not attempt to adjust or work on implements while they are in motion.
  • Do not use or attach implements unless the power shaft or PTO shaft is guarded.

Starting and stopping tractors correctly

  • Start the tractor only from the driving position and not from the ground
  • Do not dismount from a moving tractor
  • Ensure the park brake is on and operating effectively before dismounting
  • Do not park a tractor on a steep slope
  • Remove the starting key when the tractor is not in use


  • Drive at speeds slow enough to retain control in unexpected circumstances.
  • Reduce speed before turning or applying brakes.
  • Watch out for ditches, embankments and depressions – crumbling and slippery banks can cause overturns.
  • When stuck in soft ground, back out. If unsuccessful, get help.
  • Reverse up steep slopes, rather than driving forward (ensure no trailing implements are attached).
  • Use as wide a wheel track as possible when working on hillsides and sloping ground. Descend slopes cautiously. Keep the tractor in low gear and allow the motor compression to act as a brake.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for adding ballast to improve tractor stability.

Providing regular maintenance

  • Service your tractor regularly.
  • Check ROPS regularly.
  • Do not remove or replace belts while the pulleys are under power.
  • Stop the engine before servicing or greasing.
  • Keep steps and working platforms free of grease and oil to avoid slips and falls.
  • Change wheels on flat surfaces only. Before removing any wheel, check the other wheels. Avoid improvised lifting arrangements. Use a wide-based jack of adequate lifting capacity. When the tractor is jacked up, block it up evenly for additional support.
  • Ensure all the air pressure has been released before removing a tyre from the rim. Use correct procedures. Split rims can cause serious injuries. Tyres should be inflated in a cage for safety (see Rim wheels – single-piece and multi-piece for further information).

Protecting your back

  • Adjust the seat to suit your body. Consider the type of seating when buying your next tractor.
  • A tractor with a seat that has vibration absorbing suspension is highly recommended. Prolonged exposure to vibration may cause back damage.
  • Never jump down from the tractor.
  • Wear footwear that provides a firm grip when mounting or dismounting the tractor, or operating foot pedals.