UNL CropWatch May 19, 2010: Register Now for Tractor Safety & Machinery Operation Classes

UNL CropWatch May 19, 2010: Register Now for Tractor Safety & Machinery Operation Classes

May 19, 2010

Pre-registrations are currently being accepted for Tractor Safety and Machinery Operation Training classes to be held at seven Nebraska sites this summer.

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. Federal law allows the employment of 14- and 15-year-olds for many agricultural tasks only after they have completed 20+ hours of training. Completion of the course grants an exemption to the law for 14- and 15-year-olds. Penalties for producers who violate the law can include stiff fines and prison time.

Training Schedule

UNL Extension will offer tractor safety and machinery operation classes at these sites:

  • May 26-27, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, Scottsbluff
  • June 1-2, West Central Research and Extension Center, North Platte
  • June 4-5, Fairgrounds, Kearney
  • June 8-9, Tractor Test Lab, UNL East Campus, Lincoln
  • June 11-12, North Central Research and Extension Center, Norfolk
  • June 15-16, Fairgrounds, Ainsworth
  • June 23-23, Southeast Research and Extension Center at the Agriculture Research and Development Center, near Mead

Class Details

The intensive training consists of two days, with classes from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day plus homework assignments. The first day is primarily classwork and written tests while the second includes hands-on tractor and trailer safety tests. Statewide standardization of the course allows class participants the option of taking the first day at one location, then taking the second day later at another location. This is helpful if their 14th birthday occurs during the testing but before the last day, for example.

The first day of class will consist of intensive classroom instruction with hands-on demonstrations, concluding with a written test that must be completed satisfactorily before the student may continue to the driving tests the next day. The classroom instruction will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program.

The second day will consist of testing, driving, and operating machinery. Students will demonstrate competence in hooking up and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course. They also must hook up PTO and hydraulic systems correctly.

Participants should dress for safety. This means shirts and long pants with shoes that cover the foot and preferably the ankles. Students that are not dressed safely will not be allowed to drive.

Safety Matters

Nebraska farm fatalities have averaged almost 32 per year since 1969. Historically, tractor roll-overs have been the most common cause, but lately ATVs (all-terrain vehicles or four wheelers) have replaced tractors. In 2008, farm accidents killed 16 Nebraskans, ranging in age from 8 years to adult.

Agricultural workers make up only 6.6% of Nebraska’s workforce, but in 2002 they accounted for 33% of the state’s workplace fatalities, according to a report in Cornhusker Economics.

More Information

Cost for this exemption-granting course is $60. For more information or to register, contact Bill Booker at (308) 762-5616, wbooker2@unl.edu, Sharry Nielsen at (308) 832-0645, snielsen1@unl.edu or the local UNL Extension office in the county in which the training is offered.

The curriculum website is: http://www.nstmop.psu.edu/

William Booker
UNL Extension Educator