Members of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health will provide a tractor safety course in May, June and July at 11 sites across the state, in partnership with Nebraska Extension.
The course provides extensive training on tractor and all-terrain vehicle safety with a variety of hands-on activities. Instilling an attitude of "making safety a priority" and respect for agricultural equipment are primary goals of the course.
Teens ages 14 or 15 who work on farms, or others who are interested in learning about safe farming practices, are encouraged to register for the Nebraska Extension Tractor Safety & Hazardous Occupations Course. Anyone younger than age 14 is not eligible to take the class.
Federal law prohibits children younger than age 16 from using certain equipment on a farm unless their parents or legal guardians own the farm. However, certification received through the course grants an exemption to the law, allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to drive a tractor and to do fieldwork with certain mechanized equipment.
Susan Harris-Broomfield, University of Nebraska Extension educator, reports that a common cause of agricultural-related injuries and deaths in Nebraska is overturned tractors and ATVs. She emphasized that this course is designed to train students on how to avoid these incidents, as well as many other hazards on the farm and ranch.
The cost of the course is $60 and includes educational materials, instruction, supplies and lunch.
The first day of class will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program, and will include hands-on participation and a written test that students must pass to attend the second day of training.
The second day of training will include a driving test and equipment operation, and ATV safety lessons. Students must demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course.
Instructors also will offer education about safe behaviors and laws for ATVs, utility-task vehicles and other off-road vehicles.
Instructors for the course are members of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health: Aaron Yoder, Ph.D.; Ellen Duysen, MPH; University of Nebraska Medical Center graduate student Alyssa Damke; and Nebraska Extension educators Troy Ingram, Randy Saner, Chandra Giles and John Thomas.
Classes begin at 8 or 9 a.m., depending on location, and end times vary depending on the number of participants. If classes do not fill to the minimum of 10 participants, an option will be offered to do Day One training online and Day Two in person.
Dates, training site locations and site coordinator phone numbers are below:
May 26-27. Ord, Fairgrounds, 308-728-5071
May 28-29. Wayne, Fairgrounds, 402-375-3310
June 1-2. O’Neill, Plains Equipment, 402-336-2760
June 3 (first day is online). Gordon, Fairgrounds, 308-327-2312
June 4-5. Ainsworth, Evangelical Free, 402-387-2213
June 9-10. Geneva, Fairgrounds, 402-759-3712
June 11-12. North Platte, West Central Research, Extension and Education Center, 308-532-2683
June 16-17. Kearney, Buffalo County Extension Office, 308-236-1235
June 18-19. Hastings, Adams County Extension Office, 402-461-7209
June 29-30. Gering, Legacy Museum, 308-632-1480
July 1-2. Weeping Water, Fairgrounds, 402-267-2205
For more information or to register, contact the appropriate Extension office above. The registration form can be found at kearney.unl.edu.