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Bulletin #2334, Miscellaneous Farm Machinery Safety

Maine Farm Safety Program

Miscellaneous Farm Machinery Safety

By Dawna L. Cyr, farm safety project assistant, and Steven B. Johnson, Ph.D., Extension crops specialist

For information about UMaine Extension programs and resources, visit extension.umaine.edu.
Find more of our publications and books at extensionpubs.umext.maine.edu.

Rotary Tiller Safety

Never stand between the tractor and the tiller when inspecting or adjusting the tiller. Make sure there is no interference when you lift, back or turn the tiller. Never operate the tiller if any blade bolts are missing. If the tractor lunges while tilling a hard surface, immediately step on the clutch and brake pedals. Then shift into a lower gear and resume tilling. At the end of a work run, always raise the tiller. It could propel the tractor if the blades continue turning in the soil. Shut off the engine and disengage the tiller before adjusting or performing maintenance.

  • Watch for underground cables when working machinery in soil.
  • Do not use machinery as a battering ram.
  • Counter weight the tractor correctly when using a backhoe attachment.

Dozer Safety

Travel slowly over rough terrain. When making turns close to buildings or passing through narrow passages, make sure you have enough clearance. Be careful to avoid stumps and other immovable obstacles. Do not use a dozer as a battering ram. Do not stand with your feet under the blade when changing the angle or removing the blade.

Trencher Safety

Use the trencher only in applications for which it was designed. Observe the underground cable signs and check with local authorities before digging. Do not dismount during operations, and never leave an operating trencher unattended.

Backhoe Safety

Always operate from the operator’s seat. Make sure the tractor is level and not tilted to the slope angle. Counter-weight the tractor properly. Check clearances before driving under electric lines or before entering a building. Never move or swing a load with people in the work area. Make sure the driver is out of the cab before loading a truck. Never swing over the truck cab.

Avoid sudden starts, excessive speed and sudden stops, especially when operating on a hillside or rough ground. Practice smooth, even transfer of loads. Sudden, jerky movements are dangerous to both equipment and personnel. Use extreme care when working close to fences or ditches or on hillsides. Be extremely careful when operating on a slope. Swing to the uphill side if possible. If downhill dumping is required, swing only as far as necessary to dump the bucket. Always move soil a sufficient distance from the trench to avoid cave-ins.

Never use any hydraulic power of the boom or dipper as a pulling or lifting device. Never use any part of the backhoe as a tie point for lifting or pulling.

This Maine Farm Safety fact sheet is part of an educational fact sheet series produced by University of Maine Cooperative Extension. For more information on farm safety, contact your UMaine Extension county office.


Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2003

Call 800.287.0274 (in Maine), or 207.581.3188, for information on publications and program offerings from University of Maine Cooperative Extension, or visit extension.umaine.edu.

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Contact Information

Cooperative Extension Publications
University of Maine, 5741 Libby Hall, Room 114
Orono, ME 04469-5741
Phone: 207.581.3792 | Fax: 207.581.1387
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Orono, Maine 04469
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