Preregistration Urged for Safe Tractor, Machinery Operation Classes

Preregistration Urged for Safe Tractor, Machinery Operation Classes

May 23, 2008

Coming up in Sidney, Alliance, Bridgeport, Harrisburg

Safe tractor and machinery operation classes begin soon in Harrisburg, Sidney, Alliance and Bridgeport. Some of the classes originally announced in the May 2 CropWatch have been cancelled or rescheduled. Following is a revised list of class dates.

  • Give Your Kids a Safe Start

    Upcoming training covers two leading causes of ag fatalities:
    ATV and tractor overturns.
  • May 30-31 at Banner County School in Harrisburg
  • June 3-4 at 21st Century Equipment at Sidney
  • June 10-11 at 21st Century Equipment at Alliance
  • June 30-July 1 at 21st Century Equipment at Bridgeport

UNL Extension Educator Bill Booker said the safety training is for 14- to 15-year-olds who want to work on farms other than their parents', or who just wish to have the safety training.

To Preregister

Preregistration is strongly encouraged. Classes may be cancelled if advance registration is not sufficient. Training begins at 8 a.m. each day and will end by 5 p.m. Information and pre-registration are available at Extension offices in:


Alliance (308-762-5616)
Scottsbluff (308-632-1480)
Bridgeport (308-262-1022)
Sidney (308-254-4455)
Rushville (308-327-2312)
Chadron (308-432-3373)


There is a $35 fee for materials, registration and the first day meal. Pre-registration is preferred to help in planning.


Who Needs This Training

Ag fatalities have been tracked since 1969. There have been 1,229 fatalities through March of this year - an average of almost 32 per year, many of them children. Last year 19 fatalities were recorded. Overturns are still the major cause of death, with all-terrain vehicles replacing tractors as the main cause. Five of the 19 fatalities in 2007 occurred while on an ATV. ATV overturn safety will be covered in the training.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was amended in 1968 to include the Hazardous Occupation Order in Agriculture (HOOA). The order identified many agricultural tasks as hazardous for youth. Employment of youth under 16 to perform these tasks is illegal except for those working on their parents' or guardians' farm and/or 14- to 15-year-olds who have completed exemption training. Producers who violate this law can be fined up to $10,000 the first time. A second offense can have the fine plus imprisonment up to six months.

The National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program (NSTMOP) was developed to offer this exemption training. The training completion permits 14- and 15-year-olds to drive a tractor after 10 hours of training, and to do field work with mechanized equipment after 20 hours.

Course completion also fulfills the driving and testing requirement to operate machinery on public roads. Producers who hire youth under 16 without veryifying they have a permit from taking this course could be put at risk of worker safety violations and possible prosecution.

David Ostdiek
Communications Specialist
Panhandle REC, Scottsbluff

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