There are many hazards that come with operating farm equipment, including falls, overturns, and being struck by or against an object. The consequences can be as little as a few bumps and bruises, or as serious as death. In any case, when operating farm machinery, it’s important to be aware of the danger. You need to be able to recognize machine hazards and take the appropriate steps to protect yourself.
One of the most common tractor injuries is caused by rocks being flung from the front moving parts of the equipment and striking the operator of the tractor. These are called thrown-object hazards and are typically associated with equipment that mows, chops, or cuts crops in an open field, barnyard, or yard. Thrown-object hazards typically exist with pieces of equipment that have rotating fans or knife blades, such as rotary mowers, cutters, and shredders. When this equipment passes over objects such as rocks, the objects can become projectiles that are flung a great distance with extreme force – at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour! These thrown objects pose a threat to not only the tractor operator but may also cause property damage and serious injury to people or animals in the vicinity. Potential injuries from thrown objects include contusions, abrasions, lacerations, bruises, and eye and head injuries.
Here are several ways you can reduce the risk of a thrown-object incident:
- Identify those types of machines that may throw objects.
- Make sure machine guards or shields are securely in place and properly maintained.
- Make sure a machine and all its moving parts are completely stopped before nearing the discharge area.
- Never point a mower discharge chute toward people, pets, homes, structures, streets, or vehicles.
- Always wear eye protection when working with machinery that cuts, grinds, or chops material.
- Be aware of the distance and direction of potential thrown objects.
- When you are working with machinery that can throw objects, do not allow others in the area.
In addition to the above bullet points, you should also consider investing in The Rock Block. The Rock Block, as the name suggests, blocks rocks from being thrown at you and your tractor while mowing. The Rock Block is a curtain made from thick, heavy-duty rubber that attaches in front of the rotary mower conditioners. The Rock Block protects you, others, and your equipment from injury and damage by thrown objects. Click here for ordering info!